OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has passed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) budget for 2019.
The House committee of the supply after considering the report of the House committee on Niger Delta passed a total sum of N346,513,046,220.
In the passed budget, aides of board members of the commission will get a total sum of N1,298,737,938 for the year 2019, a fact flagged by member of the House, Babale Bashir (APC, Kano) who described the sum as outrageous and called for clarification on the total number of aides captured.
The initial explanation by the chairman of the Committee, Nicholas Mutu (PDP, Delta) and other members of the House appeared unsatisfactory to Babale, as the chairman could not give a specific number as the total number of aides.
The chairman subsequently said that the total number of aides are 71. However, according to the NDDC act, the Board is not a full time job, and according to section 2 of the NDDC act, there are 17 board members in total. So these board members according to Mutu are having 71 aides.
Section 2 of the act reads, “Chairman;
(b) one person who shall be an indigene of an oil producing state representing each of the following members States, that is –
(i) Abia State;
(ii)Akwa lbom State ;
(iii) Bayelsa State;
(iv) Cross River State;
(v) Delta State;
(vi) Edo State;
(vii) Imo State;
(viii) Ondo State and
(ix) Rivers State ;,
(c) three persons to represent non-Oil mineral producing States provided that such membership should be drawn from the remaining geo-political zones which are not represented in the Commission;
(d)One representative of Oil producing companies in the Niger-Delta nominated by the Oil producing companies; ” .
(e)one person to represent the Federals ministry of Finance;’
(f) one person to represent Federal Ministry of Environment ;
(g)theManaging Director of the Commission; and
(h)two executive Directors .
Going by the figure given by Mutu, which means on the average, an aide of an NDDC board member takes home N1,524,340.3 per month.
The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, despite urging for clarity during the deliberation also poked fun at Babale who raised the motion.
Mutu who is the longest serving member of the House was shown a lot of support across the two parties, as Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado Dogwa and his Deputy, Pally Iriase could be seen urging Mutu to sit down, assuring him that the bill will pass.