Orient Energy Review

Senate Probes N80bn Misappropriation in NDDC

     …Describes allegations as weighty

The President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the allegations of financial recklessness and misappropriation of funds leveled against the interim management committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are weighty hence the decision by the Senate to commence investigations.

The Commission is a federal government intervention agency established by Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2000 with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

While declaring open an investigative public hearing by the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on the Investigation of the Alleged Financial Recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission, Lawan underscored the need for the prudent application of public funds by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs).

“Financial recklessness is not an attribute that anyone can afford, whether rich or poor. It is even worse with the poor, or for the organisation or a country with limited resources. This is the reason we have always highlighted the need for prudence in the application of public resources.

“The NDDC is an important statutory agency that is supposed to improve the lot of the Niger Delta community. It is, therefore, unacceptable to hear about inappropriate use of resources, or outright financial recklessness,” Lawan said.

According to the Senate President, the weighty allegations of misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N80 billion by the interim management committee of the NDDC prompted the upper chamber to investigate the Commission.

He urged stakeholders present at the hearing to cooperate with the Ad-Hoc Committee. Lawan assured the public of the Senate’s commitment to fairness and transparency in the discharge of its constitutional responsibility.

“This Senate is a responsive Senate, and it was partly the reason we made up this all-important committee in our sitting on Tuesday, 5th May 2020 to investigate the Alleged Financial Recklessness at the NDDC.

I am happy the Ad-hoc committee has made excellent progress by requesting and receiving vital information from identified stakeholders.

“This public hearing should further help the committee get more information, to enable them to come to a pleasant conclusion on the facts on ground, before reporting back to the Senate,” he said.

Chairman of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee investigating financial recklessness in the NDDC, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, in his welcome address said the panel in line with its mandate, seeks “to holistically investigate all financially related allegations, mismanagement and misappropriation and the breach of the extant procurement processes as enshrined in the public procurement Act 2007.”

The lawmaker added that the exercise is not aimed at witch-hunting any individual, groups, persons or institutions, but to get at the root of the matter, that will aid in repositioning the NDDC to effectively deliver on the mandate on which it was established, to block leakages of financial mismanagement as well as promote the effective utilization of its resources for the overall development of the people of the Niger Delta region.

Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja