The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Nelson Braimbraifa, as well as his directors were absent as the House of Representatives began probe of abandoned projects in Niger Delta in Abuja on Tuesday.
The House Committee on NDDC, who frowned upon the development, therefore ordered Braimbraifa and his directors to appear before them on Friday. However, they asked Emefiele to appear on Monday.
The panel threatened to order their arrest if they failed to invitations.
A member of the committee, Buba Yusuf, raised a point of order to call the attention of the panel to the fact that the stakeholders critical to the investigation were not at the event.
Yusuf cited Section 89(1) of the Constitution, saying, “I have observed that the very relevant stakeholders that are supposed to be here for the success of this public hearing are not here. The NDDC is a major stakeholder in this investigation and I am sure we have written to them twice and there was no response.
“We all know that Section 89 of the Constitution has empowered this committee to summon anybody, no matter how highly placed, to come before us to give evidence.”
The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, was represented by the Director, Federation Account, Sabo Mohammed, while the Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine, was represented by the Director of Audit, Julius Isiuku.
The chairman of the panel, Nicholas Ossai said their first letter was received by the NDDC on August 14, with a reminder sent on August 23 when there was no response from the commission to the first letter.
He said, “Up till now, there is no response from them and it shows that they are above the law. But our constitution does not allow that.”
Ossai also read a letter by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the committee in which the ministry sought permission to appear before the committee at a later date.
However, the chairman said, “You will recall that recently the ministers (Godwin Akpabio and Festus Keyamo) gave instructions to the NDDC on a national daily. So, I find it very difficult to believe that they have not been interacting with the commission. It is strange for such a letter to have come.
“The NDDC is not above the National Assembly or the management of the NDDC. I believe that Yusuf Buba is in the right direction.”
The House unanimously agreed to summon Emefiele and Braimbraifa.
Ossai said, “My ruling is that this honourable committee, in line with Sections 62, 88 and 89(1)(a)(b) and (c) of the Constitution that empower this committee to investigate the abandoned projects in the NDDC and to procure all necessary instruments to arrive at a reasonable conclusion, also summons the CBN Governor to appear before this committee on Monday next week.”
Meanwhile, a former Minister of Housing, Chief Nduese Essien, on Tuesday, faulted the governors opposing the constitution of the NDDC board.
Essien, who is also a former member of the House of Representatives, made his position known in a statement.
Essien, who was part of the team that drafted the NDDC Act, said the claims and counter claims on the distribution of key posts in the agency were unnecessary, saying the government did the right thing.
He said under the law establishing the commission, the post of the chairman was to rotate among the nine-member states.