By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Senate Wednesday through its Committee on Niger Delta Affairs , formally gave official recognition to the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) headed by Dr Joy Yimebe Nunieh.
This is as the Senate Committee also threw its weight behind ongoing forensic auditing being carried out on accounts of the agency by the executive arm of government which stopped the 15 member board of the commission screened and approved by the Senate in November last year.
The Senate had in December last year when President Buhari forwarded the 2019 budget of the agency for approval, ordered its committee to accord recognition to the approved board members for that purpose and not Interim Management Committee.
President Buhari in breaking the logjam, wrote the Senate this year that in view of the forensic auditing going on in the agency, the Interim Management Committee would hold sway, pending his recomposition of a fresh board.
In line with the request, the Senate Committee on NDDC led by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP Delta North), granted audience to the IMC members and considered the N346billion 2019 budget proposal of the agency.
Nwaoboshi in his remarks at the budget defence session said “The Senate supports the ongoing forensic auditing going on in NDDC and by extension not against the IMC running the agency now.
“We are here to consider and approve the agency’s budget proposals for 2019 as forwarded to the Senate by President Muhamnadu Buhari in December last year.
“However in doing that , we shall be guided by policy thrust of the government on budget proposals, implementation and performances”, he said.
According to him, in line with submissions made by the President on the 8th of October 2019 during presentation of the 2020 budget estimates, performance status of projects in previous years, will be strictly considered in giving Appropriation to any proposal.
The agency however ran into trouble waters when the committee demanded for documents on all its emergency projects which could not be provided for by the Acting Managing Director, Nunieh.
The committee consequently directed her to make the documents available unfailingly by next week Tuesday failure of which will lead to Organisation of public hearing on them.
Apparently rattled by the threat, the NDDC acting MD, quickly assured the Committee that the documents would be made available latest by next week Tuesday.
She assured the Committee members that the agency in all her activities presently, is strictly being guided by the next level agenda of President Muhamnadu Buhari’s administration in terms of transparency and accountability on all projects executions carried out by the commission.