Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on Monday issued a warrant of arrest on the Interim Administrator of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa for refusing to appear before it for an explanation on N6.2billion spent by the commission on COVID-19 palliatives.
The committee, chaired by Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP Ondo Central) resolved at its meeting held at the National Assembly complex that the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Muhammad Adamu will be officially contacted by the Senate to bring the NNDC boss before the committee unfailingly on March 9.
Akwa is said to have refused appearance before the committee four consecutive times and without sending representatives.
The NDDC was given an ultimatum to appear before the committee yesterday, Monday, February 22, 2021, unfailingly, but again failed.
The committee chairman, in issuing the warrant of arrest, said: “Having invited head of the NDDC four times now, without honouring of the invitations, this committee has no option than invoking a relevant section of the Constitution for a warrant of arrest on whoever is the boss of the agency now.
“The petition against the agency by an insider on alleged squandering of N6.2billion on Palliatives against COVID-19 last year is grave and weighty to be ignored.
“To this end, required constitutional procedures and processes will be followed by this committee in ensuring that the Inspector General of Police
bring before it, the NDDC boss on March 9, 2021, when the next sitting will hold.”
NDDC had under the recently sacked Professor Daniel Pondei-led Interim Management Committee, IMC, claimed to have spent N6.25billion on palliatives against COVID-19 last year across the nine oil-producing states.
But the chairman of the agency’s COVID-19 Palliative Distribution Committee, Ambassador Sobomabo Jackrich in a petition forwarded to the committee, said not a dime was spent for such purpose by the then IMC of the Commission.
Jackrich in the petition said: “As chairman of the COVID-19 Palliatives
Distribution Committee of the NDDC, I testify that N6.25billion 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.
“My committee was totally sidelined and the IMC hijacked the process because of their secret plots just because I was the chairman, demanded 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.”