By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The Senate Tuesday, 8 May, 2023 constituted a seven-man ad hoc committee to investigate the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) for spending N1.4 trillion without appropriation.
This followed a motion by Senator Adamu Aliero (PDP, Kebbi) during consideration of a report by the Committee on Niger Delta on NDDC’s 2021, 2022 and 2023 budgets.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, earlier this year, asked the Senate to approve NDDC’s budgets for 2021, 2022 and 2023.
The request for approval came after the interventionist agency had spent the funds for the 2021 and 2022 financial years, totaling N1.4 trillion.
Buhari, in the proposals transmitted to the parliament, had said a total budget of N485.7 billion was proposed for the NDDC in 2021, N928.2 billion in 2022 and N876 billion in 2023.
The Senate consequently referred the budgets to its Committee on Niger Delta after scaling second reading.
The committee, chaired by Senator Bulus Amos (APC, Gombe), in its report, on Tuesday, 9 May, 2023, urged the Senate to approve the budget estimates.
However, Aliero faulted the recommendation of the committee, saying it was a breach of the constitution for the NDDC to carry out expenditure of the budget estimates without approval of the National Assembly.
Other senators, who raised concern over the consideration of the budgets, were senators Seriake Dickson (PDP, Bayelsa) and Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos).
Adeola said there was an urgent need to carefully look at the 2023 budget estimates of NDDC as clarifications and further information was required on figures presented on the budget.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, therefore, raised a panel to investigate the financial activities of NDDC on the 2021 and 2022 budget estimates.
The committee, chaired by Senator Yusuf A. Yusuf (APC, Taraba), is to submit its report to the plenary in one week.
Other members of the committee include: Seriake Dickson, Uche Ekwunife, Abdullahi Yahaya, Saidu Alkali, Adetunmbi Olubumi and Sadiq Sulaiman.