Fresh crisis looms over the Niger Delta Development Commission as ex-militants in the region have given the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum within which to replace the NDDC Chairman-nominee, Lauretta Onochie, with Chief Bernard Okumagba.

The ex-militants gave the ultimatum in a statement signed by their leader, ‘General’ Peter Aghogho, who is also the President of the Urhobo Youth Council, copies of which were made available to journalists in Warri on Tuesday.

While rejecting the nomination of Lauretta Onochie, the ex-militants claimed that “the NDDC Act makes it very clear that the Chairman of the Commission must be from an oil-producing region.”

Consequently, the ex-militants gave the Federal Government a 14-day deadline to appoint Okumagba in place of Onochie, noting that Okumagba had been passed by the National Assembly in 2019 for the position of the Managing Director of the Commission, and they thought it odd that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), would send a new list of candidates to the Senate.

According to the ex-militants, the appointment of Onochie, who is from Aniocha North, a Delta State region that does not produce oil, was in violation of the NDDC Act.

The ex-militants statement read partly, “It is odd and unusual that the same President Muhammadu Buhari, who had previously confirmed a substantive board that had been placed on standby, issued another letter to the Nigerian Senate, which was read in plenary on November 23, 2022, three years later.

“In a democratic system of government, this is just unacceptable. The Nigerian democratic system is no longer secure if the Nigerian Senate may overthrow itself by examining a new slate of candidates for nomination to the Board of the NDDC without providing any justification.

We are giving President Muhammadu Buhari a 14-day deadline to withdraw the aforementioned nomination and name Bernard Okumagba as chairman together with other people who are from the region’s primary oil and gas producing areas.

“Lauretta is not even from a region where oil is produced.”