The Senate Ad hoc Committee investigating the budgets of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) failed to sit on Friday despite inviting former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, to appear before it.
Mr Akpabio, the senator-elect for Akwa Ibom North-west, is President Bola Tinubu’s preferred candidate for the position of Senate President of the 10th National Assembly.
The Senate had about two weeks ago set up the Ad hoc Committee to investigate the 2021, 2022, and 2023 budgets of the NDDC, which it claimed were implemented without the approval of the National Assembly.
Before resigning in May last year to contest election, Mr Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, was the supervising minister of the NDDC during the said period.
In a statement on Friday, Mr Akpabio’s spokesperson, Jackson Udom, said the former minister was invited by the chairperson of the Ad hoc Committee, Yusuf Yusuf, on Thursday through a phone call to appear before it on Friday by 10 a.m.
“I was required to bring certain documents relating to the investigation of the Adhoc Committee on NDDC budgets. I honoured the invitation with both serving and incoming colleagues of mine. But unfortunately, we have been here for over three hours without any member of the Ad-hoc Committee here at the chairman’s office,” Mr Akpabio said.
Mr Akpabio was accompanied on the visit by members of the Stability Group — a group of senators-elect who have endorsed his candidacy for the Senate Presidency.
However, the Committee did not sit when Mr Akpabio honoured the invitation, according to the statement from Mr Akpabio.
Mr Akpabio said he spoke to the Committee chairperson, Mr Yusuf, who told him that members of the Committee must have gone to the Mosque and promised to fix a new date for the former governor to appear.
“I got other members of the committee like Senator Uche Ekwunife, who said she is not aware of the invitation as all investigative activities have been concluded. As a legislator, I will always accord the parliament all respect when invited to appear.
“Let me also place it on record that even as we speak, I am yet to get a hard copy of the invitation, but I have to respect the authority of our National Assembly.
“I learnt that the House of Representatives had since passed the three budgets in question and that there was no decision to invite me as a former minister that resigned from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs almost a year ago. I was only a supervising minister for NDDC exercising delegated authority over an agency in the ministry,” Mr Akpabio said.
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