By Haruna Salami
The Senate Thursday stepped down consideration of the 2021 and 2022 budgets of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The NDDC 2021 and 2022 budgets have been subjects of controversy in both chambers of the National Assembly, which prompted the Senate to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate why the Commission had no approved budget for those two consecutive years.
The committee, in carrying out the assignment invited the management and board of NDDC, which exposed the deep gulf between the two organs and how the management has been spending billions of naira without recourse to budget or board approval.
Unfortunately, when the Committee submitted its report for consideration Thursday, the Senate resolved to step it down for “inconclusive job”.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba Central) while presenting the report of the Ad-hoc Committee on 2021 and 2022 Budget Estimates of NDDC, urged his colleagues to receive and consider the report.
However, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan said “because of insufficiency of data or information to the committee, the committee was not able to conclude this job and this is something that is supposed to go into our records. Whatever that should be in our records should be something that meets the standards”.
The motion to step down the consideration of the budget was move by Senator Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central) and seconded by Senator Gershon Bassey (Cross River South).
Therefore, the Senate voted to step down the consideration of the budget, which implies that it is the 10th National Assembly that will consider it if it see it as important.
It is unfortunate that the National Assembly is still talking about 2021 and 2022 budget of the NDDC in the middle of 2023 because of the lawlessness in the Commission in the period under review.
Lawan however commended the Ad-hoc Committee because it was “constrained, but didn’t fail to do the work”.