News Investigators/ The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, Thursday revealed that a total of N281billion has so far been released to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), even as acting Executive Director, Projects Interim Management Committee, Cairo Ojougboh, accused federal lawmakers of hijacking contracts and impeding the work of the Commission.
Mr. Idris told the Ad- hoc Committee of the Senate probing the alleged missing N40 billion of Commission fund that a total of N281 billion has been released to the NDDC from 2016 to May this year.
Giving a breakdown, he said that in 2016, N41billion was released; in 2017, N64 billion was released; in 2018, a total of N71 billion was released; in 2019, N71 billion was released and from January to May this year, N34 billion was released.
Speaking at the Committee’ hearing in Abuja, Mr. Ojougboh while refuting the allegations of missing fund said that no single Kobo has been misapplied by the Committee since it came on board.
Specifically, Mr. Ojougboh who was a former member of House of Representatives pointedly accused the chairman, senate committee on NDDC, Peter Nwaoboshi and his House counterpart of constituting a clog to the wheel of progress of the Commission.
Speaking in Abuja Thursday when he appeared before the Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi ( APC, Ekiti North) led Ad-hoc Committee, Mr. Ojougboh said that since the interim management came on board, it has not awarded any contract, except the recent one of the Coronavirus, COVID-19 Pandemic where Palliatives were given to people.
He also accused the lawmakers of contract grabbing, drmanding their removal.
According to him, if they remain as chairmen of the Committees, Niger Delta region would never develop.
Recall that the Senate is probing alleged financial recklessness to the tune of N40 billion by the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The Senate had set up six-man Ad-hoc Committee to carry out a holistic investigation into all issues relating to but not limited to the alleged misapplication and misappropriation of the sum of N40billion by the commission.
The Committee, which had four weeks to report back at plenary, was asked to look into all procurement and financial transactions of the commission in this fiscal year (2020) and any other matter that is not in accordance with the provision of the NDDC Establishment Act, 2000 or any other extant law.
In a related development, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has assured the National Assembly of his utmost cooperation in the ongoing probe of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Senate had set up a six-man Ad-hoc Committee to carry out a holistic investigation into all issues relating to but not limited to the alleged misapplication and misappropriation of the sum of N40billion by the commission.
Appearing before the Senate ad-hoc Committee on Thursday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Olusade Adesola who stood in for the Minister regretted the absence of the Minister due to circumstances beyond his control.
Mr Adesola assured the Committee that the Minister held the Panel in high repute and would appear on any other date that the Committee would extend an invitation to him.