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NDDC Probe: How IMC spent N3.175 billion as palliatives on COVID-19 in 2 months ― Senate Report

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***Pondei got N10m; Luka Ibanga, Cairo Ojougboh got N7m each

***2 Staff took N5 million each; 148 Staff got N3 million each; 157 Staff took N1.5 million each; 497 Staff took N1 million Each; 464 Staff took N600 Million each

`NDDC yet to pay contractors that handled road projects’-Orji Kalu

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA- THE Senate has revealed how the Interim Management Committee, IMC of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC spent a substantial amount of N3.175 billion on the Coronavirus, COVID- 19 incidence in the Niger Delta region within two months.

According to the Senate, the period was April and May 2020, just as the Management of the interventionist agency said that the entire were a form of cash Palliatives distributed by the Expanded Interim Management Committee, EIMC for sharing among staff, the Police, the youth and the communities in the states.

These are contained in the report of the Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, APC, Ekiti North led Ad-hoc Committee on Investigation of the alleged Financial Recklessness to the tune of N40 billion in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC by the IMC.

According to the document obtained by Vanguard, the EIMC explained that these payments were in form of ‘cash distribution’ to all parties involved and that the IMC also submitted the approval letter given by the Office of the Ministry of Niger Delta, authorizing the expenditure.

The breakdown of how the N3.175 billion was shared as incentive to staff of NDDC in addition to their statutory entitlement as staff to take care of themselves showed that the Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei got N10 million while two Executive Directors, Mr. Luka Ibanga and Dr. Cairo Ojougboh got N7 Million each.

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The breakdown according to the report further shows that two staff took N5 million each; 148 Staff got N3 million each; 157 Staff took N1.5 million each; 497 Staff took N1 million Each and 464 Staff took N600 Million each.

The report also showed that the IMC spent part of the N3.175 billion for training Consultancy, with N35,238,164 expended on Refresher Training on Covid-19, something new to the World; Emergency support for the nine Niger Delta State Governments for the containment of the spread of COVID-19 in the Niger Delta Region gulped N775,000,000.

Out of this, four states, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers got N100 million each while Abia, Cross River, Edo, Imo and Ondo got N75 million each, even as N98,358,386 was spent on consultancy for the provision of Publicity on the Prevention of Spread of Coronavirus in the 185 LGAs in nine NDDC States awarded to Julius Dinga Nigeria Limited.

According to the report, N475,000,000 was spent on Covid-19 Police for the supply of Face Masks and Hand Sanitizers PPEs for Nigeria Police awarded to Hera Hospitality and N10,000,000 as funds to mobilize the NDDC COVID 19 Palliative Committee.

In the report, N267,750, 000 was the grand total amount of money spent as Covid-19 Welfare Youth where N46million each was paid to Mercy Mbat, Michael Uto, Offiong Ephraim for youths in Bayelsa and Rivers States; N23 million each paid to Alex Diffa, Nnamdi Okoroji, Ofonime Bassey for youths in Bayelsa and Rivers and N20.25million each paid to Anozie Susan, Beauty Ovie, Nwaoha Beatrice for youths in Bayelsa and Rivers States.

Recall that the Senate on 23rd July considered the Senator Adetunmbi led Ad-hoc Committee on Investigation of the alleged Financial Recklessness where it indicted itself as an institution for not carrying out an effective oversight function on the activities of the IMC of the NDDC that led to the rot and high level of corruption in the interventionist agency.

The Senate had also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, sack the Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei-led Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over alleged financial recklessness and constitute a new board for the NDDC.

The Upper Chamber had also asked the IMC to refund another N1.49 billion it spent on Covid-19 relief including the N1.3 billion the management said it spent on taking care of itself and staff.

It also included the sum of N475 million made available to the police to purchase hand Sanitizers and Facemasks for its commands in all the 9 states of the NDDC.

Recall that the Senate had on Tuesday, 5th May, 2020 begun a probe into alleged Financial Recklessness to the tune of N40 billion by the Interim Management Committee, IMC of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

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Consequently, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan set up a Six- Member Ad-hoc Committee to carry out an holistic investigation on all issues relating to but not limited to the alleged misapplication and misappropriation of the sum of N4OBillion by the commission.

The Committee, which was given four weeks to report back at Plenary, was to also carry out a holistic investigation into all procurements and financial transaction 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.

The Ad-hoc Committee which has Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, All Progressives Congress, APC, Ekiti North as Chairman, has 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.

Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion titled, “Urgent Need to Investigate Alleged Financial Recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC)” and sponsored by Senator Thompson George Sekibo, PDP Rivers East.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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