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FG owes NDDC N2t – MD

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The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, on Wednesday, said the Federal Government owes the commission remittances totalling over N2 trillion

Appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, chaired by Hon. Ibori-Suenu Erhiatake, on Wednesday, Ogbuku explained that the amount is the accumulation of 15 per cent of the allocation of the nine states that make up the region, due to the commission since 2000.

He noted that despite the passage of the agency’s annual budget in 2021, 2022, and 2023; the funds were yet to be remitted to the commission.

“I want to raise an important issue. When we talk about funding, the NDDC Act says the monthly allocation from the Federal Government is 15 per cent of the allocation of nine states of the Niger Delta. But I can assure you that since the inception of the NDDC, it has not gotten that.

“The Federal Government only budgets what it wants to give to NDDC for that year and they give it that year. If you look at the 15 per cent, we are not getting it. Even with the removal of fuel subsidies and with the increment of state allocation, NDDC is still where it is.

“So, these are issues we want you to help us resolve and we have done our calculation that from 2000 till date, we can say we are being owed over N2 trillion from what is supposed to be due NDDC”, he said.

Ogbuku added: “We also came in at a point where NDDC never had a budget for 2021, 2022 and 2023. These budgets were before the National Assembly and we had to fast-track the passage of those budgets and those budgets were eventually passed in April this year.

“However, since the budget was passed, it has not been handed over to us up till now. We pray and plead with you to ensure that as fast as possible, you also facilitate the process for us to have the budget because the budget year is already coming to an end”.

NDDC Chairman, Mr. Chiedu Ebie said the commission’s board would work together to reposition the commission in the interest of the oil-producing States and Nigeria at large.

Erhiatake said issues raised by the commission would be addressed in no distant time.

“It is very important we create a platform for synergy in the implementation of these policies and programmes for the general benefit of Nigerians and especially the people of the Niger Delta. I assure you that this committee is willing and ready to partner with you to make sure that the dividends of democracy are brought to the region and that the narratives that had been set by the previous board are changed for the better.

“On this note, I want to seek your cooperation as a board to ensure that every information we get from you is what we can work with as a committee and that everything we do henceforth is in the discharge of our duties to our people.

“On the issue of the budget, we would look into and find out why it hasn’t been transmitted to the commission”, the lawmaker said.

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