The cold war between the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs took a new twist on Monday as the management of the Federal government intervention agency declined appearance before the latter.
The committee led by Senator representing Delta North, Peter Nwaoboshi had been mandated by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, to investigate the alleged illegal sack of staffs of the NDDC by the Professor Daniel Pondei led IMC.
Checks revealed that the Senate, a sequel to a motion raised by Senator representing Rivers East, George Sekibo on alleged financial recklessness levelled against the NDDC IMC constituted an ad-hoc committee led by Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi to investigate it.
In a similar vein, the Senate equally mandated the Senate Committee on Niger Delta to investigate the alleged maltreatment and illegal sack of staffers of the Commission.
But the chairman of the Committee Senator Nwaoboshi and his team were stunned on Monday as the IMC team was nowhere near Room 022 of the Senate wing, venue of the scheduled meeting.
Efforts by the NDDC Director of Human Resources, Silas Anyanwu to explain to the senators that Professor Pondei and his team were held up in a sitting with the lawmakers in the House of Representatives conducting a similar investigation was rebuffed by Senator Nwaoboshi.
Mr Anyanwu said: “The Managing Director of NDDC, Professor Pondei and other IMC members, were held back at the House of Representatives wing of the National Assembly where they were being engaged on a similar investigation.
“For the past two hours sir, I have been communicating with the MD and some other IMC members but information reaching me, indicated that they are not allowed to leave the venue of similar investigation going on in the House of Representatives.”
Senator Nwaoboshi, however, dismissed the explanation as not convincing, as he noted that Monday absence by the IMC of the NDDC was the third failed attempt to honour the Senate Committee invitation.
He said: “Even if the MD is held up in the House of Representatives, is there no person from the IMC who has the capacity to represent?”
The Committee subsequently adjourned till Tuesday as it vowed to take the NDDC budget defence along with the investigation of illegal retrenchment of staff.
“From the attitude and actions shown so far by the IMC on this investigation, there is no sign of seriousness or interest from them.
“Though because of our respect for our colleagues in the House of Representatives, this sitting will be adjourned till tomorrow which is even the earlier fixed day for the 2020 budget defence session for the Commission.
“Before we adjourn, an erroneous impression must be corrected by saying that it is not this committee that petitioned against NDDC but affected staffers who alleged to have been illegally dismissed from service from of the commission.
“Petitions on such allegations have been forwarded to us and most of the affected staffers have made their presentations which must be responded to by the IMC.”
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