The National Assembly on Thursday passed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) 2016 budget.
In the Senate, the budget was following the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta presented by its chairman, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.
In passing the budget, the Senate reduced the initial budget of N260 billion earlier presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to N241.1 billion, thus implying a total of N18.950 billion reduction.
The breakdown of the budget includes N212.2 billion for development projects; N1.3 billion as internal capital expenditure; N9.980 billion overhead expenditure and N17.560 billion personnel expenditure. Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday embarked on a three-week Sallah break and consequently adjourned plenary to July 12.
In the House of Representatives, the budget was approved by the lawmakers following adoption of the report of the Committee on NDDC, headed by Hon. Nicholas Mutu.
Ahead of its consideration by the lawmakers, the Chairman of the Committee, Mutu, and the Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Leo Ogor, were observed going round the chambers talking with some of the members of the committee.
Mutu had been accused by some of the members, at the budget hearing last Tuesday, of influencing the citing of more than half of the NDDC’s projects, to Bomadi/Patani constituency, and that of Ogor’s Isoko federal constituency .
The members, including Hon. Solomon Ahwinahwi (Delta PDP), had insisted that the budget would not be passed for its lopsidedness.
The acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenetari, had however explained to the aggrieved lawmakers that most of the projects were still ongoing from the time of the last administration.
At plenary, Ogor held tete-a-tete with Ahwinahwi and Hon. Daniel Reyeneiju (Delta PDP) while Mutu sat nearby in what seemed likely to be attempt to placate the lawmakers.
Despite their insistence that the budget would not be passed, the lawmakers did not raise any objection to the adoption of the report.
Meanwhile, the House has urged the government to carry out a full investigation of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Senator Bala A. Mohammed; the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Adamu Ismaila, and the Coordinator, Abuja Infrastructure Investment Center (AIIC), Mr Faruk Sani, to ascertain their culpability or otherwise in the abuse of Financial Regulations, Due Process Procedures, and ICRC regulations with regard to the Land Swap Programme during the President Goodluck Jonathan administration