The Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, on Tuesday, walked out the Acting Executive Director, Projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Cairo Ojougboh out of an investigative hearing.
Ojougboh was among the management team of the Commission, who appeared before the Senate panel probing the allegation of ‘illegal’ sacking of staff of NDDC.
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Trouble started when Ojougboh asked the Chairman of the committee, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, to step down.
He said the NDDC management will not get a fair hearing with Nwaoboshi as the chair.
Ojougboh had earlier accused Nwaoboshi and the House of Representatives committee chair on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo of padding the budget of the Commission.
Tunji-Ojo, on Monday, recused himself from the House panel probing alleged financial recklessness by the NDDC Interim Management Committee.
Ojougboh said, “We feel we cannot get fair hearing from the Committee. It is regrettable that we have to take this decision. As Chairman, you can excuse yourself from chairing the meeting. This Committee is not properly constituted, you cannot and will not preside over this meeting.”
Nwaoboshi, however, told Ojougboh that the hearing was not about financial recklessness, but about the alleged sack of staff.
“We will not allow you to come here and insult anyone. The Committee was put up by the Senate,” he said.
The Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Senator Amos Bulus; Senator Matthew Urhoghide (Edo) and Senator Eremienyo Degi (Bayelsa) urged Ojuogboh to stop the brickbacks as they were capable of postponing the issues at stake.
Ojougboh, however, did not softpedal, and the chairman asked him to excuse the panel “since you don’t want to take questions from us”.
Meanwhile, the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Caroline Nagbo said no staff of the agency was sacked.
“They were only asked to step aside for transparency and diligence.
“All such claims of sack, dismissal or suspension of staff of the NDDC are untrue and misleading,” Nagbo, who represented the Commission’s managing director, Kemerbrandikumo Pondei said.
Pondei, on Monday, collapsed during the House of Representatives investigative hearing.