By Emman Ovuakporie
Abuja—Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, yesterday, said the Federal Government and oil companies operating in Niger Delta are owing the commission about N2.787 trillion and $458 million respectively.
The NDDC boss made the revelation while appearing before the Rufai Chachangi-led ad-hoc committee investigating all outstanding sums due to NDDC from 2010 to date.
Breaking down the amount, Ekere said Federal Government defaulted in the remittance of 15 percent of federal allocation due to Niger Delta states to the tune of N1.317 trillion out of N1.932 trillion since 2000 to date.
In addition, Federal Government paid N45.091 billion, leaving outstanding indebtedness of N1.362 trillion due to NDDC from Ecological Fund.
According to him, of $500.003 million and N516.149 billion due to be paid by the 45 registered oil companies to NDDC between the period under review, $4.544 million and N407.860 billion were paid so far, leaving outstanding indebtedness of $458.336 million and N108.290 billion.
On the efforts made so far to recover the fund, Ekere said the commission dragged some of the erring contributors to court, including NLNG, adding that the commission was working with DPR and NAPIMS to update the list of new companies coming into the industry.
SGF shuns hearing
At this point, Mr Daniel Reyenieju, who represents Warri federal constituency of Delta State pointed out to the committee that “it’s out of place not to have the Secretary-General to the Federation, SGF and Minister of Finance present in this hearing.”
The chairman of the committee quickly drew the attention of members to the fact that the Finance Minister was absent as she was attending state matter and had sent a letter apologising.
The SGF, Mustapha Boss,was however, absent almost till the end of the hearing and no letter was written to the committee over his absence.
We’ll verify all allegations—Dogara
Declaring the investigative hearing open, Speaker Yakubu Dogara explained that the exercise was to ascertain whether those funds were utilised in compliance with the provisions of the extant law.
Dogara, who was represented by Pally Iriase, Deputy Chief Whip, said: “It is common knowledge that the NDDC has been greatly constrained in carrying out its objectives in the region, in view of the various complaints and allegations against the authorities of the Commission.
“The House is determined to verify these allegations, with a view to getting all the facts to enable us make necessary resolutions that will change the trend of things in the region.”Related