The Senate vowed on Sunday the National Assembly would not back down on its probe of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) for alleged misappropriation of N40 billion by the commission’s Interim Management Committee (IMC).

Senate spokesman, Akinola Bashiru, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, also asked the NDDC to provide evidence of alleged corruption by National Assembly members to anti-graft agencies for investigation.

The upper legislative chamber had earlier this month set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to probe the alleged misappropriation of N40billion within three months by the IMC.

Bashiru said no amount of blackmail against the lawmakers or the institution of the National Assembly would stop the ongoing investigations into the financial transactions of the commission.

Read more: Getting Set for the Looming ‘War’ in Edo

According to him, the Senate decision to probe the NDDC was not maliciously intended or aimed at victimising anyone at the commission.

He said: “The attention of the Senate has been drawn to a statement credited to Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, the Executive Director of Projects at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under the Interim Management Committee (IMC).

“Ojuogboh in his statement alleged that Senators and Members of the House of Representatives are behind the fraud in NDDC.

“Ordinarily, while we are still at a loss as to why Ojougboh has repeatedly made such allegations at a time when the NDDC is under the scrutiny of forensic audit and investigation by the National Assembly, the Senate is even more surprised considering the fact that the allegations are baseless and unsubstantiated.

“Apparently, Cairo Ojougboh is ignorant of the constitutional mandate of the National Assembly to carry out oversight function overall agencies expending government resources with a view to exposing and preventing corruption, abuse, and inefficiency.

“It stands logic on the head to claim that by invoking its constitutional power of oversight to investigate the activities of the IMC, the National Assembly intends to scuttle forensic audit. The outlandish claim is illogical.

“While the National Assembly is committed to repositioning the NDDC to address the challenges of the Niger Delta through facilitating the rapid and sustainable development of the Niger Delta, however, it is naturally concerned about the allegations of poor management or outright fraud in the management of the funds and operations of the Commission.”

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