NDDC: Senate Committee Bares Fangs

…Recommends Refund Of N4.9billion

…Indicts IMC, Seeks Dissolution

An ad hoc committee of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its oversight responsibility, has come down hard on the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

The committee according to its report exclusively obtained by National Network newspaper recommended that the Interim Management Committee, be dissolved to pave way for the Board of Directors as contained in Section 2 of the NDDC Act.

The committee according to the report frowned on the manner funds allocated to the NDDC were recklessly mismanaged.

According to the report, the judiciary review of the tenure since October 2019, has not shown any evidence or performance enhancement, efficiency or prudence in the application of resources committed to the NDDC.

“The NDDC Interim Management Committee should therefore be dissolved to pave way for the constitution of the Board of Directors in accordance with the Act”, the report of the Senate Ad hoc Committee stated.

The report also stated: “That the sum of N4.923 billion made in breach of the procurement process and approvals should be refunded to the federation account with immediate effect.”

Amongst extra budgetary expenditure as senate committee report seeks refund which were made in breach of procurement process are: overseas travel to the United Kingdom – N85.7million, trip to Italy – N105.5 million, Lassa fever kit – N1.96 billion, public communication – N1.12 billion, COVID-19 relief – N1.49billion amongst others.

The report also indicted the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs of being culpable of negligent supervision and could not function effectively as a board would have done.

According to the report, the committee recorded that the President should alternate the statutory provisions in the Act and the board of directors validly nominated and confirmed by the senate should be inaugurated immediately.

According to the report, the highest payment in the record presented by the IMC was recorded in March 2020, a total of N25.7billion was paid out, at a time when there was no movement in the country because of COVID-19 pandemic with greatly reduced economic activities.

Some questionable payments made by IMC and queried in the report are N4,525,500 made on March 14, 2020 for printing of newsletter, N6,380,000, on April 1, 2020 for photo book and canvass enlargement which was paid twice – the second payment for same  purpose was N4,850,000 made on April 30, 2020, publicity for flag off ceremony for warehouse – N29,750,000.00 made on May 21, 2020.

The report queried: “What value is this really to the infrastructural needs of the Niger Delta region.”

Out of several questionable transactions on public communication of over N1.14billion, which included advert – N16,169,000, programme sponsorship – N146,520, publicity – N21,197,500, the committee according to the report queried N89,557,525 spent on anti-electoral violence and not too young to run campaign.

According to the report “the expenditure of N89.557,525 million on “sponsorship of campaign against electoral violence voter’s awareness of not too young to run act for the Niger Delta Region” took place on May 14, 2020, when no election was scheduled in the Niger Delta region. “not-too-young-to-run” issue occurred in the build up towards the presidential election early 2019 and was never our issue in 2020.

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