By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said on Tuesday that the investigation being carried out by the Senate into the finances of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is to complement the ongoing forensic audit which was ordered by the Federal government.
Lawan stated this while inaugurating a seven-man adhoc committee on alleged financial recklessness in the NDDC.
“We are in total support of the President’s directive for the forensic audit of the finances of the NDDC, and this is, in some way, complimentary to that directive,” he said.
The investigation, he said would avail the management of the Comission an opportunity to defend the allegations against it.
Lawan said, “we have no predetermined position on the outcome of this investigation as an institution. Issues raised are allegations, therefore the NDDC has the opportunity to come forward and defend its position.
“But we have a mindset and our mindset in the Senate is that we have to have a Niger Delta Development Commission that is effective and efficient in service delivery to the people of Niger Delta. This is the essence of setting up that Commission.
“So we want to see a situation where the very limited resources that are appropriated for the Niger Delta Development Commission are prudently and transparently deployed for the development of the Niger Delta region. This is our mindset and we will not shy away from our responsibility at anytime we feel a sense that that is not happening.”
The Senate President said the NDDC, as a pioneer intervention agency in the country, should take the lead on how its intervention could be effective, efficient and meet the yearnings of the people.
He expressed the hope that, at the end of the investigation, the NDDC and the Senate will continue to work together to ensure an efficient and effective service delivery to the people of the Niger Delta.
In his remarks, chairman of the adhoc committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi described the allegations that necessitated the setting up of the committee as “numerous and weighty as it involved misapplication and misappropriation of N40 billion” among others.
He assured the Senate leadership of the committee’s resolve to be open minded.
“It is not an exercise aimed at witch-hunting of any individual, groups or institutions, but rather to get at the root of the matter for the overall good of the nation,” Senator Adetumbi said
Other members of the commitee are: Senator Hassan Hadejia, Senator Dauda Jika, Senator Umar Al-Makura, Senator Barinada Mpigi, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari and Senator Chukwuka Utazi.