Reps Shut out NCC, NDDC Over Revenue Non-Remitance

Officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) were yesterday barred from the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating alleged  fraud in the remmitance of non-oil revenue.

The officials of the two agencies were walked out due to the non-appearance of their chief executives.

The NCC was represented at the hearing by its officials led by the Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, while the NDDC was represented by Executive Director of Finance, Henry Ogiri.

Other agencies at the public hearing included the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Nigerian Communications  Satelite (NigComSat) Ltd.

The action of the committee was coming on the heels of a challenge thrown to House committees by its Speaker, Yakubu Dogara at a retreat earlier yesterday  that the House is set to drive the change agenda of the government.

The panel, chaired by Chike Okafor (APC, Imo) said the non-appearance of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Dambatta and NDDC Managing Director, Bassey Dan-Abia was against the rules of the House.

According to him, engaging officials who cannot take responsibility for the actions of their agencies at the hearing would not serve the purpose of the investigation.

Okafor however said Dambatta and Dan-Abia must appear before the panel to respond to questions relating to their organisations on a date to be announced by the panel.

He said: “We have to engage those that would not set us back because the mandate of the committee is critical to the economic realities on ground in this country.

“With a monolithic economy and the fact that we dont have control of global oil market, with Organisation of  Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) setting its benchmark at $35, while we set ours at $38, the implication is that we are going to  have issues with our budget proposal.

“That is why we have to look into non-oil revenue generation and we are looking at the past four years.

“We need to know what has  transpired in that period concerning  statutory and other sources of funds, interest paid on deposit accounts, banks  used by the agencies concerned   in terms of kinds of accounts, before Treasury Single Account  (TSA), investment portfolios, offshore banks among others requests.

“If we are looking at all of these, we must have officers who can take responsibility for whatever is given to the committee.”

The submisions of NTA, FRCN and NigComSat were however taken by the Committee.