The Senate through its committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions, has summoned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, over allegations of abuse of office.
Senator Ayo Akinyelure the committee’s chairman who disclosed this to journalists in Abuja said a petition before the committee alleges that the minister was aiding corrupt practices and had failed to inaugurate the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
According to him, the Minister was also accused of trying to replace the sole administrator of the NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa, who was duly appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, and confirmed by the National Assembly, as well as sacking over 700 staff of the NDDC.
Addressing journalists at the National Assembly complex, Senator Akinyelure said: “Umana Umana has perfected ways to present some new projects to President Muhammadu Buhari to approve it for him to start using the money to implement projects that is not appropriated by National Assembly.
“The power of a appropriation is conferred on the National Assembly not on Mr President. Mr President, can only give approval for service Wide Votes when the money appropriated by the National Assembly is not adequate to implement some projects meant for a particular, state or region.
Akinyelure said several other allegations were levelled against Umana; among which is his refusal to forward two annual budgets of the NDDC (2021 and 2022) to the National Assembly for approval, while money are being spent by the commission on the orders of the minister therefore taken the power of appropriations to himself.
He said the minister was expected to appear on November 10 by 2pm, adding that the committee had agreed to ensure the matter was accorded an accelerated hearing.
Akinyelure also said Umana was also accused of compiling projects not appropriated by Buhari to get N480 billion funds of the agency domiciled in the CBN.
He said the N480 billion was contributed by the international oil companies for the use of NDDC and the minister was allegedly going behind the back door to get the money out.
“We want the president to stop the minister because the projects he had allegedly compiled, were not appropriated for by the National Assembly.
“Our people in the Niger Deltra region where funds are being generated for the country are in a state of commatose.
“The president has in his wisdom deemed it fit to appropriate funds to the Niger Delta region but the minister has refused to bring the appropriation before the National Assembly for us democratically elected representatives of the people to give approval nut they have refused to do so.
“There are a lot of higher level mismanagement of resources due to develop the Niger Delta region.
“Whenever I decided to invite them, they will give hat excuses are the order to get by changing people who will be able to dance to their tune will be able to different areas of perfect fraud.
“We’ve come to realize we believe that Mr President is doing his best. But those he appointed as he said, as aides and ministers are frustrating the anti-corruption agenda of the president.”