By Sanni Onogu, Abuja
The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) expended the sum of N81.5billion in eight months, The Nation learnt on Thursday.
The Chairman of the Senate Ad hoc Committee on the investigation of the alleged financial recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Adebunmi Adetunmbi gave this indication at an investigative public hearing of the panel at the National Assembly.
Adetunmbi disclosed that the amount was constrained in the submission of the IMC to the Ad hoc Committee.
According to him, IMC I chaired by Mrs. Gbene Joi Nunieh between October 2019 to February 18, 2020, spent a total of N22.5billion out of the N81.5billion.
He added that IMC II chaired by Professor Daniel Pondei, between February 19, 2020 to May 31st 2020 spent the sum of N59.1billion.
According to him, community relations gulped
N1.3billion, Condolences N122million, Consultancy N83.8million, COVID-19 intervention N3.14billion, Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) – N486million (N302million of the amount spent by IMC II), Imprest N790.9million, Lassa fever – N1.956billion, legal fees N906million, Logistics N61million, maintenance N61million and medicals – N2.6billion.
Others are: Overseas travel (to UK for graduation ceremony in May 2020) – N85.6million, Payments for projects – N38.6billion, Public Communications – N1.121billion, Security (IMC I and II) – N744million, Staffing Related Payment (Salaries and Allowances) – N20.9billion, Stakeholders Engagement (by IMC II from February 19 to May 31st 2020) – N248.9million and General travels – N56.5million.
President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan, who was represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Professor Roberts Ajayi Boroffice, noted that the hearing is important as it underscored the need for transparency and accountability, in all spheres of the nation.
Lawan added: “Financial recklessness is not an attribute that anyone can afford, whether rich or poor. It is even worse with the poor, or for the organisation or country with limited resources.
“This is the reason we have always highlighted the need for prudence in the application of public resources. The time when public resources is seen as nobody’s resources is long gone. We are in trying times, when we all have to be concerned about judicious use of scarce incomes.
The NDDC is an important statutory agency that is supposed to improve the lot of the Niger Delta community. It is therefore unacceptable to hear about inappropriate use of resources, or outright financial recklessness.
“This Senate is a responsive Senate, and it was partly the reason we made up this all-important committee in our sitting on Tuesday, 5th May 2020 to investigate the Alleged Financial Recklessness at the NDDC.”
He added: “I am happy the ad hoc committee has made excellent progress by requesting and receiving vital information from identified stakeholders.
“This public hearing should further help the committee get more information, to enable them to come to a pleasant conclusion on the facts on ground, before reporting back to the Senate.
“I have trust in the ability of this committee to do the right thing, but I add that you all have to cooperate with them and be open-minded and frank with your submissions.
“The Senate will be fair to all. Our aim is to get all evidence, to make excellent decisions, to benefit the citizens. Your cooperation is therefore very important.
“With your enthusiasm you are all hopefully ready to be frank. We cannot afford to do any less than patriots. The ball is therefore in our collective courts.