The Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), says it will ensure International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country, pay their contributions to the coffers of the commission. Sen. Ned Nwoko member Senate Committee on NDDC, made the disclosure while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja. Nwoko said that the IOCs were owing the commission hundreds of billions of dollars, adding that the committee would invite, investigate them and ensure they did what was right. According to him, some of the IOCs are making their money in Nigeria, yet failing to make their contributions to the commission. He said nobody should be seen as above the law when dealing with issues of oil theft and spillage in the country.
He said that he found it unacceptable when people say that there were cabals who were untouchable and were involved in oil theft and spillage. He said that nobody was above the law of the country, adding that whether nddcas a former Military General, or current General or former Head of State, if indicted in oil theft and spillage, the senate would name and expose that person. “Yes, but what I don’t accept, and I find very unacceptable is when people tell me, oh, there’s a cabal. They are untouchable. “Nobody is above the law. Whether you are a former Military General, current General or former Head of State, if you are involved in this, you will be exposed. You will be named, because nobody is a sacred cow,” he said. He said that these categories of people causing oil spillage known as “the big boys, and untouchables” were either vessel owners or those who chatter vessels or badges to steal crude in large quantities. According to him, they are more difficult to deal with because they have the capacity to connive with those who ought to have stopped them.
On NDDC he said “We must also insist that they do that. They must do that. You know, they are owing hundreds of billions of dollars to NDDC coffers. So we will invite them, we will investigate them and we will make sure they do what is right. We don’t want to interfere with their work, but they have an obligation under the laws of Nigeria, they have an obligation to host communities. They must deal with that. I don’t think any member of the committee on NDDC will be compromised because we will not accept it.” He also said that the tenth assembly and the committee were poised to ensure effective project execution by the NDDC. The work of the NDDC is well explained in the act establishing it; yes, this is the tenth assembly and we are different from the previous assemblies. And I know that it will not be business as usual, we have made it clear to members of the committee that they cannot turn to substantive contractors like we had in the previous assembly.
“If they must oversight properly and without fear of reproach, they must do things properly. The fact that there is enough budget or work to be done will make a difference in the lives of the people and that is important,” he said. The lawmaker added that if there was a need to make more money available to the commission through budgetary allocation, that would be done. He also expressed satisfaction with the composition of the current NDDC leadership put together by President Bola Tinubu, saying he had confidence in their capacity. “They understand that this is a new era, and things will not be done like in the past where contractors are paid money and they run away with it,” he said. Nwoko stressed the need for all contractors to deliver on their undertakings, adding that there would be no excuses.