The Senate on Thursday has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei-led Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over allegations of financial recklessness.
Before now, the NDDC was supervised by office of the Secretary the Government of the Federation, SGF but now being oversighted by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, under Senator Godswill Akpabio, following recent directives by the presidency.
The upper legislative house then recommended that the NDDC be returned to the SGF for proper supervision.
The senate further called on the current IMC to refund the N4.923billion it paid to staff and contractors in breach of the procurement process and approvals.
The upper chamber came to these resolutions following its consideration and adoption of the recommendations of its “Ad hoc Committee on the investigation of the alleged financial recklessness in the NDDC.”
The Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (Ekiti North), presented the report.
Adetunmbi said: “the Committee noted that it is difficult to find a correlation between Niger Delta community development and cash invested in the zone.
“Continued cash injection in the Niger Delta challenge issue has not worked under the various IMCs.
“It may be useful at this juncture for the Government to intervene by stepping down the EIMC (Executive Interim Management Committee), thereby helping them leave the stage for a properly constituted board with specific mandate to address the pains of the Niger Delta people.”
The IMC was then asked by the committee to make refund extra-budgetary expenditure of N4.923billion payment to staff and contractors in breach of the procurement process and approvals.
Monies to be refunded by the IMC include cost for overseas travel to the United Kingdom in the sum of N85.7million, Scholarships Grants – N105.5million, Union Members trip to Italy – N164.2million, Lassa Fever Kit – N1.96billon, Public Communication – N1.2billion and COVID-19 Relief -N1.49billon.
In his conclusion, Ahmad Lawan, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, decried the siphoning of that the resources of the NDDC by those appointed to manage them over the years.
Lawan added: “Almost all throughout this period, those that he really been given the responsibility to manage the resources of the NDDC and for the people of the Niger Delta have squandered the resources leaving the region poor and in a very difficult situation.
“It is our opinion in the National Assembly, particularly in the 9th Senate that this report has exposed the inefficiencies, the kind of corruption in the NDDC and in fact, the need to strengthen that organization.
“I want to agree completely that we should look at the Act establishing the Commission. Where are the lacunas or the inadequacies? We are on the same page on this that the outcome of the investigation by the National Assembly, from both chambers, will be considered by the executive arm of government in order to bring sanity in the NDDC and relief to people of the Niger Delta.”