Senate has begun a holistic probe of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC over alleged job racketeering that is at the moment rocking the interventionist agency. Senator Ayo Akinyelure, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ondo Central led Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions that is carrying out the investigation, explained that it was sequel to a petition accusing the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Management of the Commission of refusing to document the appointments of 7 job seekers from Ondo State who legitimately applied and were duly issued letters of employment to work in the Commission.
Addressing Journalists in Abuja, Senator Akinyelure said that in the petition, the former Minister and immediate past Management of NDDC were accused of deliberately denying job seekers opportunities to work in the Commission even after meeting with all the requirements. He stressed that petition further accused officials of Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) of demanding bribe up to the tune of N2 million from job seekers to have their employments documented or have their slots sold to highest bidders. The Senate Committee however absolved the current Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana of any wrongdoing in the alleged job racketeering, just as it also exonerated the Minister of all allegations contained in a separate petition that accused him of plotting to siphon N480 billion NDDC funds lodged with the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN). The Senate Committee had in October summoned the Minister to come and provide explanations to the weighty allegations which included alleged plot to replace the erstwhile Sole Administrator, Effiong Akwa, a refusal to constitute the NDDC Board and attempts to withhold the budgets of the commission from 2021 to 2023 away from the scrutiny of the National Assembly.
Akinyelure who noted that the Senate Committee met with the Minister behind closed doors and was pleased with his submissions on all the allegations leveled against him, said that his Committee became even more tolerable to the Minister’s assurances to resolve other outstanding issues after the presentation of the budgets of NDDC before the Senate on Wednesday coupled with moves by President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a new Board for the Commission. Consequently, the Committee asked the Minister to take a look into the issue of alleged job racketeering inside the NDDC.