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NDDC: Senate recommends sack of interim management

The Senate Ad hoc committee, probing allegation of financial recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has recommended the sacking of the Interim Management…

The Senate Ad hoc committee, probing allegation of financial recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has recommended the sacking of the Interim Management Committee (IMC).

The panel, chaired by Olubunmi Adetunmbi (Ekiti North), said the IMC should be dissolved immediately to pave the way for the Board of Directors to take over.

It noted that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, which supervises the commission, was culpable of negligence.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (Ekiti North), while presenting the panel’s report Thursday, said the absence of board of directors had created a major lacuna of oversight of NDDC activities.

“The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is culpable of negligent supervision and could not function as effectively as a board would have done.

“Therefore, the committee strongly recommends that the President should activate the statutory provisions in the Act and the board of directors validly nominated and confirmed by the Senate should be inaugurated immediately,” he said.

The committee also recommended that the interventionist agency should be reconsidered to report directly to the Presidency in view of the huge resources allocated to it.

“For the purpose of consistency and equality of policy, there is a need to review the inconsistencies and differences in the apex control of these development commissions.

“In retrospect, the original arrangement of putting these commissions in the Presidency should be carefully reconsidered to allow for direct Presidential oversight in view of the huge public resources allocated to them,” the report said.

Extra budgetary spending

Senator Adetunmbi said the management of the agency spent money according to the availability of cash without recourse to budgetary provision.

He said the panel was not surprised that the N81.5 billion the commission spent between October 2019 and May 2020 was not development oriented.

He listed the extra budgetary spending to include overseas travel to the United Kingdom – N85.7 million; scholarships grants – N105.5 million; union members trip to Italy – N164.2 million; Lassa Fever Kit – N1.96 billion; Public Communication – N1.12 billion and COVID-19 Relief – N1.49 billion.

The committee, therefore, recommended the refund of N4.923 billion payment made to staff and contractors in breach of procurement process and approval to the NDDC account with immediate effect.

To ensure accountability, the report also recommended that the monitoring committee and the advisory councils should also be inaugurated along with the board of directors as provided in Sections 20 and 21 of the NDDC Act.

“This is necessary to ensure that there are sufficient check and balances in the internal affairs of the NDDC,” the report said.

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