The House of Representatives has resolved to probe alleged misappropriation of funds running into billions of naira by the Management of the North East Development Commission, NEDC, meant for the development of the North East Region of Nigeria.
The resolution was based on the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance moved by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu at the resumed sitting of the House on Thursday 23rd July, 2020.
Moving the motion which was seconded by Hon James Faleke representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, Hon. Elumelu said that the NEDC was signed into law to basically alleviate the suffering of Nigerians living in the North Eastern region of the country, who have long been victims of insurgency and to rebuild the socio-economic livelihood of the people in the region.
Elumelu however, regretted that the commission is being used as a personal tool by the top management of the commission, even as he expressed great worry at the allegation of collaboration of the leadership of the commission with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, to divert huge funds running into billions of naira, for private causes.
“The NEDC which was set up to ameliorate the sufferings of the people is alleged to be enmeshed in serious corrupt practices by the management.
“The corrupt practices include high handedness by the managing director Mohammed Goni Alkali, over-inflation of contracts, awards of nonexistent contracts, massive contract splitting and flagrant disregard for the procurement laws in the award of contracts,” Hon. Elumelu stated and further expressed concern that the N100 billion so far disbursed to the commission by the federal government, is said to have vanished under a year without any visible impact on the refugees nor any infrastructural development credited to the name of the commission in the whole of the Northeast.
“There are allegations of how the managing director and his close associates diverted funds meant for the commission, for the purchasing of choice properties in highbrow neighborhoods of Abuja, Kaduna and maiduguri, to the detriment of the suffering refugees and infrastructural development.
“There are allegations of how the minister of Humanitarian affairs and disaster management, Sadiya Umar Farouk was said to have entered into an unholy deal with the managing director of the commission to illegally withdraw the sum of N5 billion from the account of the commission to purchase military vehicles without any recourse to the board, an act which completely disregards the country’s procurement laws and must be seriously frowned at.
“Though the managing director single handedly procured all Coronavirus materials and supplies to the tune of N5 billion without an approval from the board, there is said to be another massive corruption scheme on the verge of being implemented in the name of housing scheme in maiduguri without the board’s knowledge,” the Minority Leader stated and was further disturbed that these consistent abuse of procurement laws, if not put to check, may defeat the purpose for the establishment of the commission.
He therefore submitted that the House of Representatives, through the House Committee on NEDC and the Committee on Finance and Appropriations should immediately commence investigation of the alleged corruption in the commission, with a view to coming up with the true position in the commission to the interest of Nigerians
The motion was unanimously voted and adopted by the House.