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Senate probes NDDC’s N65b water hyacinth contract

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The alleged inflation of a water hyacinth contract from N2.5 billion to N65 billion by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has elicited reactions.

The Senate Public Account probing the development has summoned the commission’s Acting Managing Director, Dr. Enyia Akwagaga, to appear before it next Tuesday after knowing that she was ill.

Chairman of the committee, Matthew Urhoghide, rejected the plea by the Director for Special Duties, Nosakhare Agbonigisede, to respond to queries on her behalf.

The panel chair however directed that all relevant documents be submitted to the committee on or before Monday.

The information to be forwarded to the committee include project titles; names of contractors; locations of contracts; their addresses; contract sums; date of award; amount paid till date; as well actual date of completion.

Also to be filed are original copies of job advertisements; technical bids as well as well as financial bids and deductions of taxes (VAT and WHT) and evidence of remittances.

Explaining the reason for the probe, Urhoghide stated:
“We had invited the acting Managing Director and management of the NDDC to come and testify before this committee of the Senate on Public Accounts on an issue that has become of national importance, that is, the award of contracts that has to do with the clearing of water hyacinths in the Niger Delta region, and of course, the desilting of contracts awarded by the NDDC under their emergency programme.

“We want to be able to ascertain if due process was followed in the award of these contracts, particularly the information that we have at our disposal that they exceeded budget limits. Of course, that is a very serious offence.”

He continued: What we know is that N2.5 billion was budgeted for this activity, that is, desilting and clearing of water hyacinths. We are hearing that the commission has spent N65 billion. So, we want to know if it is true. It is an allegation. It is still an assumption until they come to clear the airs surrounding this.”

According to the panel, “it is not a case of whether she is the one that was in office or not, and again, we are very clear that this committee is not out to witch-hunt anybody.”


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