‘Your intimidation won’t stop us’ — Senate panel vows to continue probe of NDDC's IMC/ Peter Nwaoboshi

The Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, has reiterated its determination to continue with its probe of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) despite alleged intimidation and blackmailing from the commission against it.

The Senate committee’s comment came against the backdrop of the recent allegation by Acting Director of the IMC, Kemebradikumo Pondei, who accused the lawmakers of including over 500 non-existent projects in the commission’s budget.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Chairman of the Committee, Peter Nwaoboshi, dismissed the allegations raised by the IMC.

He said: “We are responding to the allegations of the IMC to correct the misrepresentation. If they claim that some 1000 jobs were given to any Senator, we challenge the IMC members to compile the list of these contracts and publish them.

“Also, the EFCC, police or ICPC should be reached to investigate those claims instead of blackmailing anybody.

“If members of the IMC know that their hands are clean, they don’t need to panic or resort to blackmail which would not in any way deter the already mandated investigative committees of the national assembly from carrying out their legitimate assignments.

“IMC must be ready to submit itself for thorough investigation by committees already assigned for that by both chambers of the national assembly.

“The allegations of balkanisation of budget just came because the IMC members were asked to appear before the ad hoc committee to answer questions.

“The national assembly has the right to appropriate and carry out oversight functions on the Niger Delta ministry, and the NDDC. So, no amount of intimidation or blackmail will stop us.”

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had in October 2019 ordered a forensic probe of the Commission’s activities from 2001 to 2019.

Nwaoboshi’s comment further stretches the lingering debacle between the National Assembly and the NCDC's IMC. The National Assembly had earlier accused the interim committee of mismanaging over N40 billion and passed resolutions that it would investigate.