*** Raises questions on N248.3 Million Spent on Stakeholder Engagement
*** N148 Million on Conflict Resolution; N99 Million on Leadership of Ex- Agitators
*** Issue of Contract Awards to Senators was never discussed in the 8th Senate, Senator Sabi
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE Senate has raised the alarm over a total sum of N543 Million spent by Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC as Security Expenditure on Police and security in six months.
According to the Senate, the expenditure record for security showed that this included payment for retained services of private security firms, just as the Management of the NDDC elaborated the substantial risk to life surrounding working for the Commission, thereby justifying the quantum of payments made in this area.
The Upper Chamber taking a swipe at the management of the Interim Management Committee, IMC of the NDDC on why huge amounts were paid to an individual especially Abubakar Abdulmumuni who was paid the sum of N50 Million in one sweep.
The disclosure is contained in the report of the Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, APC, Ekiti North led Ad-hoc Committee that Investigated 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 report stated that ” the Committee also noted that security risk has been the singular justification for huge cash outflows made on Stakeholder’s engagement, community relations and distribution of relief. When these costs are pooled, they represent a substantial piece of the Niger Delta Commonwealth, which may have been dissipated into questionable purposes.”
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Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs in the 8th Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, All Progressives Congress, APC, Niger North said yesterday that there was nothing of mention like contract awards to Senators in the immediate past Senate.
Speaking with Vanguard yesterday, Senator Abdullahi who is now the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, said that as representatives of the people, the onus is on them to attract development in form of Projects to their constituents and constituencies, just as he said that this does not metamorphose into award of contracts.
According to him, when projects are attracted, it is now the responsibility of the Executive to see to how the projects will be executed for the people, adding, ” As lawmakers, in attracting projects, we can lobby and say that these people need Boreholes, need other good things as dividend of democracy.
“Throughout my stay in the 8th Senate, and to the best of my knowledge, there was no single time the issue of award of contracts to Senators came up. Both at Plenary, Executive sessions and Committee levels, award of NDDC Contracts to Senators was never discussed.
“You can see that the Report of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, APC, Ekiti North that Investigated the alleged Financial Recklessness to the tune of N40 billion in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC by the IMC was detailed, it opened up everything and the Report will remain a reference point to the 9th Senate.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has also raised the alarm following a total sum of N248.3 million the NDDC spent on Stakeholder Engagement.
According to the report, ” For the period under review, NDDC spent a total of N248.3 Million on Stakeholder Engagement. Conflict resolution took about N148 Million, another N99 Million was spent on emergency dialogue with the leadership of ex-agitators. These are substantial cash outflows, with questionable actual implementation and value addition.”
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.
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.