President Muhammdu Buhari on Tuesday sent a letter to the senate seeking approval of the 2019/2020 budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, read the President’s letter during the plenary.
However, the Senate Minority leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Orders on personal explanation, drew the Senate’s attention to the fact that the members of the governing board of the agency recently cleared by the Senate are yet to be sworn-in and as such wondered who will appear before the relevant committees of the Senate to defend the proposals.
Abaribe said: “We just heard from you (Senate President) the communication from Mr President which relates to the presentation of the NDDC’s Budget for approval.
“Of course, what it will mean is that the budget will go to the relevant committee of Appropriation and the NDDC Committee and some persons will come to defend the budget.
“Having regard to the fact that this Senate has confirmed members of the board of the NDDC and they are yet to resume office, Mr. President I fear that we may run into a problem of delayed budget again since nobody will come to defend this budget.
“Because this august body having confirmed the board of NDDC, will not countenance any illegal contraption coming in front of us to say they are representing the NDDC.
“I know that this may be preemptive, but my people say that if we act quick we will prevent disaster from coming.
“So, to prevent a delayed budget for the NDDC, that is helping the region for development, it would be better for us to prevent this issue from coming and let the needful be done.”
The Senate President backed Abaribe’s point of order and urged the executive to do the right thing so that the right persons can come and defend the NDDC’s Budget.
Lawan said: “Thank you Minority Leader but because you have come under order 43, this motion is not subject to debate but let me sustain your point of order.
“As far as we are concerned this Senate knows that we have confirmed the request of Mr. President for the board membership of the NDDC and we have communicated that and the next logical thing to do by law is for the appointments of the members of the board to take immediate effect.
“I believe that the executive arm of government will attend to that quickly so that we have the right people to come and defend the Appropriation request of Mr. President”, he said.