The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has explained why the Senate took the decision to investigate the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He said the allegations of financial recklessness and misappropriation of funds levelled against the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC were unacceptable.
Lawan gave the explanation on Thursday in his speech while declaring open an investigative public hearing by the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee set up to probe the commission.
He stressed the need for the prudent application of public funds by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of Government (MDAs), saying the same had become imperative in view of scarce income at the disposal of the Federal Government.
“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 a country with limited resources,” Lawan was quoted as saying in a statement by his aide, Ezrel Tabiowo.
He added, “This is the reason we have always highlighted the need for prudence in the application of public resources. The time when public resources are seen as nobody’s resources is long gone. We are in trying times when we all have to be concerned about the 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.”
The Senate President, represented by the Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, said the weighty allegations of misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N80 billion by the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC prompted the lawmakers to investigate the commission.
He urged the stakeholders at the hearing to cooperate with the ad-hoc committee and gave the assurance of the Senate’s commitment to fairness and transparency in the discharge of its constitutional responsibility.
“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.
“I am happy the ad hoc committee has made excellent progress by requesting and receiving vital information from identified stakeholders,” Lawan explained.
He believes the public hearing will further help the committee get more information to enable it come to a pleasant conclusion on the facts on the ground, before reporting back to the Senate.
The Senate President stated, “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.”
In his welcome address, the Ad-Hoc Committee Chairman, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, outlined the purpose of the gathering.
According to him, the panel seeks “to holistically investigate all financially related allegations, mismanagement and misappropriation, and the breach of the extant procurement processes as enshrined in the Public Procurement Act 2007.”
“The exercise is not aimed at witch-hunting any individual, groups, persons or institutions, but to rather get at the root of the matter, that will aid in repositioning the NDDC to effectively deliver on the mandate on which it was established, to block leakages of financial mismanagement as well as promote the effective utilisation of its resources for the overall development of the people of the Niger Delta region,” the lawmaker added.
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