Again, Senate summons NDDC over N6.25bn COVID-19 palliative sharing

The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, on Thursday, issued a fresh summon on the management staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission.

The top staff members are to appear before the Senate panel on February 22 to explain how they allegedly spent N6.25bn on COVID-19 palliative last year.

The Senate panel is acting on a petition, which alleged that the management staff of the agency spent the money on palliative which they could not account for.

The petition before the Senate panel claimed that the NDDC, under the recently sacked Prof. Daniel Pondei-led Interim Management Committee, spent N6.25bn on palliative across the nine oil-producing states.

The Chairman of the agency’s COVID-19 Palliative Distribution Committee, Amb. Sobomabo Jackrich, who signed the petition, said no money was spent for such a purpose by the sacked IMC.

In the petition, Jackrich said, “As the Chairman of the COVID-19 Palliatives Distribution Committee of the NDDC, I testify that N6.25bn approved by Mr President for palliatives for the entire Niger Delta Region through the NDDC cannot be accounted for and is allegedly embezzled by the then Prof. Daniel Pondei-led IMC.

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“My committee was totally sidelined and the IMC hijacked the process because of their secret plots just because I, as the Chairman, demanded for transparency in the entire process.

“The then IMC conspired among themselves and distributed strange substance in the name of palliatives in form of spoilt food items to a few communities in the region. To cover up for the fraud, they tried without success to bribe me with few bags of rice and beans just to induce me to play along with them.”

The leadership of the NDDC was not at the committee’s sitting on Thursday to give answers to the allegations contained in the petition.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, said there would be no escape route for the agency’s management on the alleged fraud.

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