Senate begins probe into NDDC’s 16-year stewardship
THE Senate has mandated its Committee on the Niger Delta to investigate the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since its inception in 2000.
The committee chairman, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who gave the hint yesterday at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, said the move followed a series of complaints about the agency’s performance since its establishment.
“We are here based on a referral from the Senate that there was a petition to the Senate about the performance of the NDDC since its incepeartion. The Senate in its wisdom said the Committee on Niger Delta should go and do a holistic investigation into the activities of the NDDC from its inception in year 2000 till date,” he said.
Nwaoboshi explained that the committee, which is expected to tour the nine oil-producing states to ascertain NDDC projects, was not in the region to witch-hunt anybody.
He acknowledged the receipt of a report submitted by the NDDC to the Senate, but the committee still needs to tour the region to verify the projects the commission said it had executed since coming on stream.
“We discovered that in Bayelsa State, you have 33 abandoned projects and you have already paid N10.4 billion as mobilisation on those projects. That is the state we have the highest number of abandoned projects in this Niger Delta. In Akwa Ibom, you have paid about N6 billion; in Rivers, you have paid about N4 billion on abandoned projects. In Delta, you have paid about N2 billion; in Imo, you have paid N2.6 billion and in Abia, you have paid over N1 billion. In Cross River, you have paid N1.1 billion and in Ondo, you have paid N926 million,” Nwaoboshi stated.
The committee disclosed that it had been able to obtain the budgets of the oil companies up to 2014.
“We heard that they refused to give you those budgets. When they appear, all they claimed was that it is 13% of the actual, but this committee has been able, before the whole managing directors and chief executives of the oil companies, including NAPPIMS proved it to them that it is not 13% of the actual, but 13% of the total budget. It is made clear to them in the presence of Nigerians from all walks of life and we intend to hand over the whole budget, up to 2014, we are waiting for the 2015 budget, we will send it to you, to enable you calculate the 13% and we assure you that we will help you get the money,” the committee chairman assured.
Also speaking, NDDC’s acting Managing Director, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said the agency was in dire need of intervention, noting that the establishment had received a little over N500 billion from the Federal Government since its existence.
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