By Henry Gabriel
The Senate have today, commenced investigation over alleged Financial Recklessness by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC).
The committee was setup by president Muhammadu Buhari to ‘clean up’ the commission following several allegations of corruption.
It was gathered that the Senate want the sum of N40 billion allegedly squandered by the IMC within the last three months to be accounted for.
The IMC’s tenure has expired severally but was renewed by President Muhammadu Buhari, even when Senate had screen a substantive names for the NDDC sent to them by the president.
Buhari later sent a letter to the senate, informing them he has disbanded the earlier names sent to them in order to allow the IMC to continue with the ‘good work.’
But in line with the move, Senate set up an Ad- hoc committee to be headed by Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi ( APC Ekiti North) , to look into the financial transactions carried out by the IMC on behalf of the commission within the last three months and report back in four weeks .
These were sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator Thompson George Sekibo ( PDP Rivers East ) .
Sekibo had in the motion titled : ” Urgent Need to Investigate Alleged Financial Recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC) alleged reports from the Commission , indicate State of financial Recklessness that must be investigated and stopped .
According to him, while President Muhamnadu Buhari set up the IMC to coordinate forensic auditing of financial transactions carried out by the now dissolved Board of the commission , reports emanating from IMC, indicate financial Recklessness on it’s part too.
He added that aside financial Recklessness being carried out by the IMC, is also indulging in alleged arbitrary sack of the management staff of the Commission .
He said : ” While President Buhari ‘s action of setting up an IMC and the forensic audit may have been conceived to forestall the financial Recklessness of the commission and reposition it for fast tracking of the development of the region , the IMC has been more bedevilled with the same financial misuse , misapplication , misappropriation or outright fraud in the management of the funds of the commission .
” Within the last three months, the commission has spent over N40billion of the commission ‘s fund without recourse to established processes of funds disbursements , which has open up further suspicion among stakeholders of the Niger Delta Region .
” IMC is also alleged to be arbitrarily using executive power for wrongful sacking of management staff of the commission without recourse to established civil service rules and practices .
” Consequently, the IMC has lost credibility and seen as a financial conduit pipe based on opinions of stakeholders in the region , which therefore urgently calls for an intervention by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to install confidence in the people for whom the commission was primarily established .
” In particular, section 88 of the constitution ( as amended), has conferred on the National Assembly and in this case the Senate, to ascertain whether the sum of N40billion so appropriated and in the coffers of the commission , has been properly applied judiciously and appropriately to programmes meant for “.
Though during general debate on the motion , Senators Bala Ibn Na”Allah ( APC Kebbi South) and Ajibola Basiru ( APC Osun Central ) through different constitutional point of orders , tried to stop it from sailing through , but the Senate President , Ahmad Lawan ruled and many other Senators , pushed it through.
Na’Allah and Basiru kicked against the motion on the grounds of being driven by allegations .
But Lawan in his ruling countered by saying at the level of investigation, the veracity or otherwise of the allegations would be established .
Members of the Ad- hoc committee are Senators Jika Dauda Haliru ( APC Bauchi Central , Mohammed Tanko Almakura ( APC Nasarawa South), Abdulfatai Buhari ( APC Oyo North ), Chukwuka Utazi ( PDP Enugu North) , Ibrahim Hadeija ( APC Jigawa North East ) and Degi – Eremienyo Biobarakuma Wangaha ( APC Bayelsa East )