N3bn palliative for Nigerian Police, others, NDDC under attack by Senate

Senate Thursday took a swipe at the Interim Management Committee, IMC of the Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC, over revelations of large sum of money spent so far. The Senate has taken a swipe at the IMC over N3. 14billion the Commission gave as relief funds to the over 4,000 staff of the commission and Police Commands of affected nine States.

The Ad-hoc Committee also read from the document how the IMC NDCC donated another N475 million to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammadu Adamu for facemasks and hand Sanitizers, bringing the total amount expended as Covid-19 relief for NDDC staff and the Police to N1.5 billion.

Position of the Senate yesterday was during the Investigative Public Hearing by the Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, APC, Ekiti North led Ad-hoc Committee probing into alleged financial recklessness to the tune of N40 billion by the IMC.

Speaking on Thursday in Abuja, Senator Adetunmbi who relied on documents submitted to the Committee by the NDDC, revealed how the allowance was shared with one staff receiving N10million as “palliative” for Covid-19.

Trouble started yesterday with the Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei led IMC of NDDC when the Senate Ad- hoc Committee queried why huge amount of money was given to Staff of the commission as relief for COVID-19 pandemic. In his remarks Adetunmbi who was worried why N10m was given to a single staff as Covid-19 relief fund without person testing positive to the virus, said: “From the financial statements or documents forwarded to this committee from your office as regards expenditure carried out between October 29, 2019 and May 31, 2020, monies expended on COVID-19 pandemic relief are mind boggling.

“Out of the total expenditure of N81.495billion spent by both the IMC led by Mrs Gbene Nunieh as Managing Director between October 29, 2019 and February 18, 2020 and the current IMC led by Professor Pondei between February 19, 2020 and May 31, 2020, N3.14billiion was spent on COVID-19 pandemic as relief funds”

“Highly disturbing is the fact that based on the records of payment of such funds , a Whopping N10million was given to a single staff while two other staffers collected N7million each.

“Other payments as reliefs against the pandemic are N3million given to each of 148 other staffers, N1.5 million each to 157 other category of staffers, N1million each to 497 others and N600,000.00 each to the last category of 464 other staffers.

“Also included in the COVID-19 pandemic relief largesse, as clearly stated in your submitted financial documents, is N475million given to the Police High Command for purchase of face masks and Hand Sanitizers for men and officers across the Nine states in the Niger Delta Region.”

Senator Adetunbi also took up the IMC officials on other spendings such as N1.3billion for Community relations , N1.956billion for Lassa fever, N23.8billion for Consultancy fees, N486million for Duty Travel Allowance , N85.6million in April to some of its officials to attend the graduation ceremony of some Niger-Delta students in the United Kingdom even last June.

However in their separate explanations, both the Managing Director, Professor Pondei and Acting Executive Director (Project), Dr Cairo Ojougboh, defended the various expenditure made to have been done in the best interest of the commission and Niger Delta Community at large. Defending the expenditures, NDDC Director of Projects, Cairo Ojuogboh who explained that the money was meant for the police command in all the 9 states in the Niger-Delta region, said that most of this expenses were inherited debt; pointing out that the IMC did not award any fresh contract.

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