Nigeria Senate has insisted that its warrant of arrest issued against the management of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) subsists, saying their move was in line with the legislative process of making public servants to account for their actions.
Senator Ayo Akinyelure Chairman of Ethics, Priviledges and Public Petitions, reacted to inquiries by newsmen in Abuja, following the reported denial of ‘arrest warrant’ by the Senate Committee Chairman on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwoboshi.
Earlier reported that Senate Committee on Ethics, Priviledges and Public Petitions on 21st February 2021, issued a warrant of arrest for the management of Niger Delta Development Commission to be brought before it to account for how N6.25 billion palliative fund given to it by the Federal Government was spent.
The Committee Chairman said Senator Nwoboshi might have been misquoted, insisting that his Committee’s warrant of arrest stands.
He said: “May be the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC was quoted out of context.
“As far as we are concerned in the Senate Committee on Ethics Priviledges, and Public Petitions, in our last meeting, we issued a warrant of arrest and it still stands.
“We ruled that a warrant of arrest be issued to bring in the management of NDDC to explain how palliative of N6.25 billion during COVID-19 pandemic was paid.
“We had earlier issued three invitation letters to bring in the management of NDDC before the Committee, they never responded. And the penalty contemplated before the last meeting was that, if by the last meeting, they didn’t respond, the warrant of arrest be issued and that is what we did.
“At that time, there were a lot of problems in NDDC.
“The management Committee was dissolved by Mr. President, but having now a Sole Administrator who was one of the management Committee, they should come.”
The Chairman disclosed that the NDDC management following the arrest order, had reached out to the Committee and promised to appear in the next meeting.
“The Sole Administrator of NDDC, Effiong Akwa has already sent a delegation to the Committee that in the next meeting, he’s going to appear. The next meeting is yet to be fixed.
“They have been given instructions by the Committee that all necessary defense they have concerning N6.25 billion fund, they should get ready and we gave them three weeks so that they can prepare necessary defense for them to come and explain,” he added.
He further explained that the process of getting a public officer arrested takes time, noting that the Committee was serious in tackling the NDDC.
“In the meantime, the process of issuing warrant of arrest in Senate delays a little. It’s not just by pronouncement and warrant of arrest is ready tomorrow.
“This is an institution of the National Assembly, there are procedures for doing things. So when a warrant of arrest is issued to bring a certain respondent to the Committee for their deliberate action not to honour a Committee; under our rule, the Committee Chairman and others can resolve to issue arrest warrant which accordingly is what we did in our last meeting. No controversy about that.
“By now the process of issuing warrant of arrest has reached a final stage, but they have respected themselves, they have come and we are giving three weeks for them to prepare their defence and when they are going to present their defence, it’s to be during the public hearing”, he said.
Recalled that the Chairman of NDDC palliative Committee, Sobomabo Jackrich had petitioned the National Assembly, claiming that the sum of N6.25 billion palliative fund was embezzled by the now disbanded Daniel Pondei-led Interim Management Committee.