Committee on Investigation of Alleged Financial Recklessness in the NDDC, Senator
Olubunmi Adetumbi, at the commencement of public hearing in Abuja, gave the
breakdown of how N3.14billion was shared.
allegations of misappropriation of N40 billion by the IMC of the commission.
Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)
engaged in a verbal war yesterday with the former accusing the latter of
sharing N3.14 billion to staff and the police as COVID-19 relief package.
documents forwarded to this committee from your office (IMC) as regards
expenditure carried out between October 29, 2019 and May 31, 2020, monies
expended on COVID-19 pandemic relief are mind-boggling.
N81.495 billion spent by both the IMC led by Mrs Gbene Nunieh as Managing
Director between October 29, 2019 and February 18, 2020, and the current IMC
led by Professor Pondei between February 19, 2020 and May 31, 2020,
N3.14billiion was spent on COVID-19 pandemic as relief funds.
based on the records of payment of such funds, a whopping N10 million was given
to a single staff while two other staffers collected N7 million each.
pandemic are N3 million given to each of 148 other staffers, N1.5 million each
to 157 other categories of staffers, N1 million each to 497 others and
N600,000.00 each to the last category of 464 other staffers.
relief largesse, as clearly stated in your submitted financial documents, is
N475 million given to the police high command for purchase of face masks and
hand sanitizers for men and officers across the nine states in the Niger Delta
Region,” the committee chairman said. According to him, the IMC I chaired by
Mrs. Gbene Joi Nunieh between October 2019 to February 18, 2020, spent a total
of N22.5 billion out of the N81.5 billion.
Professor Daniel Pondei, between February 19, 2020 and May 31st 2020, spent the
sum of N59.1 billion. Among others, the Senate ad hoc committee said community
relations at the NDDC gulped N1.3 billion; condolences, N122 million;
consultancy, N83.8 million; COVID-19 intervention, N3.14 billion; Duty Tour Allowance
(DTA) N486 million; Imprest N790.9 million; Lassa fever, N1.956 billion; legal
fees, N906 million; logistics, N61 million, maintenance; N61 million and
medicals, N2.6 billion.
self-help’ But in his submission at the hearing, the NDDC’s acting Deputy
Director, Projects, Cairo Ojougboh, said the allegation that the IMC had
misapplied the sum of N40 billion since inception was unfounded.
new projects that formed the basis of any payments other than the Emergency
Intervention on COVID-19 that was ordered and approved by President Muhammadu
profile of about N3 trillion out of which the sum of N156, 986,545,802.68 had
been processed and ready for payment by previous management. He said the
budgets of the commission have always been hijacked by the leadership of the
committee on NDCC from both chambers for their personal gain.
NNDC from 2001 till date have always been hijacked by the two chairmen of the
committee; the chairman in the House and the chairman in the Senate. Not one
kobo has been misused since the coming of the IMC. We want to beg the National
Assembly that they should allow the people of the Niger Delta to grow.
have not known peace. It has been one false allegation after another,” Ojougboh
said as members of the committee looked in disbelief. Also responding, the
commission’s Acting Managing Director, Kemebradikumo Pondei, justified the N1.5
billion they shared, saying it was distributed to staff as COVID-19 relief fund
to ease the effect of the pandemic.
are also the representatives of the people from the nine states of the Niger
Delta region,” he said. On the N475 million given to the police to buy face
masks and hand sanitizers, he said the commission received the request from the
police high command and the management approved it. “We work closely with the
security agencies… Without them, we can’t survive.
high command for assistance and the management looked at it and approved it. We
gave the money to the police high command and they have not given us the record
of how the money was spent,” he said.
Force, DCP Frank Mba, did not respond to a request for comment on the statement
by the NNDC management that the police got N475m to buy face mask and hand sanitizers.
reactions from the Niger Delta states yesterday over how the affairs of the
NDCC were carried out in respect of touching the lives of the people at the
height of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were allegations that officials of the
NDDC took care of themselves more with the
monies set aside to support the vulnerable. Our reporters could not
establish the actual amount released to be used as COVID-19 palliatives.
catchment states said they received foodstuff while others said they heard of
the intervention in the media. In Bayelsa, some items donated by the NDCC were
among those shared to the eight local government areas of the state on Tuesday.
Mr Konbowei Friday Benson, while distributing the items announced that NDDC
gave the state 870 bags of 50kg rice, 2,112 bags of beans, 2,934 cartons of
noodles and 60 bags of garri. But some citizens of the state said the local
government areas were yet to distribute the palliatives to them.
that the state government had distributed the food items but the people at the
grassroots were yet to get them. Also, an indigene of Sagbama LGA, Mr Saturday
Jonathan, said he was yet to get the palliative from NDDC.
donated food items and medical consumables to the state government to support
its fight against COVID-19 pandemic. The food items included 1,500 of 50kg bags
of rice, 411 bags of beans, 387 bags of garri, 128 jerry cans of palm oil,
2,615 cartons of noodles and 1,150 cartons of biscuits.
cartons of sanitiser, 93 cartons of Dettol, 1,164 cartons of toilet roll, 46
cartons of toothpaste, 25 cartons of toothbrush, 155 pieces of inhaler, 42 sets
of crutches and 42 sets of wheel chair. Three people in Uyo and two others in
Abak said they received some support. Ukeme Samuel who is a trader said she got
rice and spaghetti, while a taxi driver who gave his name as Ndifrike said he
got garri. In Abia, Mr Gospel Adiele, a community leader in Ukwa, one of the
oil producing communities in the state said they only heard of the intervention
for the first time.
Aderemi Ilesanmi, said she hasn’t received anything from the state government,
NDDC or private organizations. Mr Aniedi Imoh, a barber who lives on Mbukpa
Road, in Calabar, said nobody told him anything about palliatives from NDDC.
Mrs Inyang Cobham, said she has not received either. In Edo State also, Mr John
Idemudia said he was not even aware of any palliative being distributed by the
Representatives have been at loggerheads with the NDDC for many years, a
development that led to accusations and counter accusations. In the latest
debacle, the two chambers of the National Assembly are probing an allegation
that the NDDC interim committee ‘squandered’ N40 billion within three months.
of the NDDC board who appeared before the committee over alleged discrepancies
in the budget submitted by the commission, the Accountant General of the
Federation (AGF) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Adetunmbi said based on their records, the NDDC said it spent N81.5 billion;
the AGF submitted N82 billion and CBN submitted N92.2 billion between October
2019 and May 2020.
team to face the legislators, said they “inherited so much debt that needed to
be cleared upon assumption of office.
on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North) had alleged
that Senator Godswill Akpabio had collected contracts worth N500 million from
NDDC in 2017 without executing them, despite receiving full payment. On his
part, Akpabio had through the interim committee alleged that Nwaoboshi
similarly collected N3.6 billion worth of contracts from the commission in
2016, without any execution.
The Head, Environment and Conservation, Centre for Environment, Human Rights
and Development (CEHRD), Dr Kabari Sam, told our correspondent that there was
nothing wrong with the National Assembly initiating a probe of the NDDC or any
other agency. According to him, “Any probe ordered by Mr. President or
initiated by the National Assembly is in order.
probes and ensure that whoever is culpable answers the necessary questions and
is prosecuted. My only worry is that even those championing the probes have
questions on their heads that they have not answered.
certain member of the National Assembly had 300 contracts from the NDDC. Is it
that they wanted to cover those things? These are the fear of some of the
stakeholders,” he said. Speaking on the development, the Executive Director,
United Global Resolve for Peace (UGRFFP), Shalom Olaseni, said the National
Assembly should not be seen as a mere toothless barking dog.
admitting to the National assembly committee that close to N2bn was spent as
palliatives to take care of their staff, it is a grave insult to average
Nigerians, he said. On his part, Barrister Aminu Ismail said the National
Assembly should revisit all the probes it carried out in the past and see if
they made any sense and helped the polity.
clean their names. There is this general perception that they only probe
government institutions when leaders of such places refuse to settle them. We
want to know what happened to previous investigations and whether somebody had