The House of Representatives is to investigate alleged misappropriation of about N100 billion at the North East Development Commission (NEDC).
Adopting a motion of urgent public importance at yesterday’s plenary, the House mandated its Committee on NEDC to investigate the allegations and report back to the House for further legislative action.
Sponsor of the motion, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu said that the NEDC bill was signed into law in October 2017 by President Muhammdu Buhari to replace other initiatives such as the presidential initiative on North-east (PINE) and Victims Support Fund (VSF) while the board of management inaugurated in May 2019.
According to him, the commission was established with a mission of coordinating funds accruing from the federation account and donor agencies for the purposes of rehabilitating and resettling of victims of insurgency, reconstruction of homes, infrastructural development and tackling of illiteracy in the North-eastern part of the country.
He reminded the House that there has been massive displacement of Nigerian citizens in the Northeast as a result of the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, where houses, schools, mosques, churches , farmlands and businesses were destroyed thereby rendering people homeless and jobless.
The NEDC he said was set up to ameliorate the sufferings of the people is alleged to be enmeshed in serious corrupt practices by the management.
He expressed concern about corrupt practices in the agency and over inflation of contracts, awards of non-existent contracts, massive contract splitting and flagrant disregard for the procurement laws in the award of contracts.
He alleged 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.
Elumelu said if these consistent abuse of procurement laws are not put to check, they may defeat the purpose for the establishment of the commission, hence the need for an urgent investigation.