ABUJA, Nigeria – The House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Tuesday, went tough on members of the Interim Management Committee of the Commission over allegations of extra-budgetary spending.
The commission had failed to submit its 2019 budget to the National Assembly for approval 14 months after the time provided for by the NDDC Act.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio had all of a sudden, announced the sack of the acting Managing Director of the commission and inaugurated an Interim Management Committee, a move the lawmakers considered fishy.
At an investigative hearing on the need to stop the illegality in the commission in Abuja, the lawmakers frowned at the continued operations of the NDDC without budgetary allocation.
The legislators also frowned at the activities of the interim management which has generated crisis among major stakeholders.
The Chairman of the Committee, Rep Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ogun) recalled that the green chambers had on November 13, 2019, deliberated on the matter and mandated the committee to carry out a thorough investigation.
According to Tunji-Ojo, “in legislative parlance, the House in Plenary is a house in session whereas the House in Committee is a House in action”.
The Chairman said that the committee was out to give credence to the assertion saying that the committee is committed to dealing with the issues dispassionately.
Tunji-Ojo enjoined all the relevant stakeholders to give the committee maximum cooperation to achieve its aim which is to reposition the NDDC for the development of the oil-rich zone.
The parliamentarian also cautioned all parties in the crisis against media attacks on the National Assembly which is the symbol of democracy.
He called on all those involved in such acts to desist from dragging the image of the National Assembly to disrepute.
He warned that such acts could have grievous consequences on the nation’s democracy as it was tantamount to declaring war on the institution.
According to him, “we will not allow anybody or agency to bring the institution to disrepute.”
Tunji-Ojo, who cautioned the interim team to be guided sounded the note of warning that media attacks on the Legislature by agents of the Commission should cease forthwith.