President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan

BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the allegations of financial recklessness and misappropriation of funds leveled against the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are unacceptable.

He said this formed the resolve of the Senate to investigate the activities of the Commission, stressing that financial recklessness is not an attribute that anyone can afford, particularly for an organisation or a country with limited resources.

Lawan, stated these Thursday while declaring open an investigative public hearing by the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on the Investigation of the Alleged Financial Recklessness in the NDDC, underscored the need for the prudent application of public funds by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs).

The Senate President particularly said that the same had become imperative in view of scarce income at the disposal of the Federal Government.

In his words; “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,” Lawan said.

Lawan noted that the weighty allegations of misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N80 billion by the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC prompted the upper chamber to investigate the Commission.

While urging stakeholders present at the hearing to cooperate with the Ad-Hoc Committee, Lawan assured the public of the Senate’s commitment to fairness and transparency in the discharge of its constitutional responsibility.

He further said; “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. 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 evidences, to make excellent decisions, to benefit the citizens. Your cooperation is therefore very important,” Lawan said.

Chairman of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee investigating financial recklessness in the NDDC, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi (APC – Ekiti North), in his welcome address said the panel in line with its mandate, 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.”

Adetumbi further sad; “The exercise is not aimed at witch-hunting any individual, groups, persons or institutions, but to 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 utilization of its resources for the overall development of the people of the Niger Delta region.”

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