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Lawmakers uncover alleged budget fraud at NDDC

By Juliet Akoje (Abuja) and Clarkson Voke Eberu (Lagos)
10 October 2019   |   4:07 am
The House of Representatives has revealed that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is allegedly still operating on the 2018 budget approved by the National Assembly.

Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Photo: CHAMPION

Adewolu confirmed as NCC’s executive commissioner
The House of Representatives has revealed that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is allegedly still operating on the 2018 budget approved by the National Assembly.

Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, made the revelation at the inaugural sitting of the committee in Abuja.His words: “As we speak, the commission is yet to submit its 2019 appropriation to the National Assembly for approval in line with the Act that set it up, not to talk of the 2020 estimate.

“Today is October 9 and the commission is yet to bring the budget for the 2019 fiscal year not to talk of the 2020 which Mr. President submitted before the Assembly on Tuesday. What has the commission been operating with?”

On the way forward, he promised that the committee would seek to improve its budgetary and oversight processes to curb corruption and waste, ensure fiscal discipline and promote good governance inline with the laws of the land.

Meanwhile, rights advocate, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, has urged the Senate to stay action on the nominees announced by President Muhammadu Buhari for the NDDC board pending the resolution of ‘grievances’ in certain quarters.At a press briefing yesterday in Lagos, she noted that she had initiated a legal action to right the perceived anomalies in the list.

The Igba of Warri kingdom contended that the nomination of former deputy governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu, as chair of the incoming team ‘violated’ the alphabetical rotational order for chairmanship of the interventionist agency as enshrined in its enabling law, especially Section 4 of the NDDC Act 2000.

The presidency also nominated Mr. Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the agency.The women leader maintained that it was the turn of Delta State to also produce the chair since it followed Cross River, which produced the last occupant, in alphabetical order.She recalled that since the inception of the organisation, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Cross River had produced its chairmanship.

Lori-Ogbegbor urged that Itsekiri, being a major oil-producing stakeholder in the state, should get one of the two topmost jobs in the commission.
Besides, the red chamber yesterday confirmed Adeleke Adewolu as an Executive Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) amid uproar from a section of the legislators.

Some South East senators had raised objections to the confirmation, drawing the Senate’s attention to the absence of a representative from the region on the NCC board.

This comes as the chamber considered and adopted the report of the Oluremi Tinubu-led Committee on Communications at plenary.Francis Onyewuchi (Imo East), citing Section 14(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as commended), had called for the report to be stood down pending when there was a nomination to fill the slot of the South East geopolitical zone.

Senators Uche Ekwunife and Rochas Okorocha spoke in same vein.The presiding officer, Lawan, consequently directed the panel to review the list of NCC’s executive commissioners with a view to addressing the alleged marginalisation.

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