Senate suspends consideration of NDDC’s 2021-2023 budgets after protest by former Bayelsa governor

Senate suspends consideration of NDDC’s 2021-2023 budgets after protest by former Bayelsa governor

The senate on Wednesday, May 3, suspended the consideration of three budgets of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) after former Governor Seriake Dickson, senator representing Bayelsa west, objected to it.

The consolidated budgets are for the 2021, 2022, and 2023 fiscal years.

In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the finances of the commission, following allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

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The upper legislative chamber had the consideration listed on its order paper, but shortly before it could be moved for consideration, Dickson raised an order of privilege.

While citing order 9 of the senate standing rules, Dickson said his privilege as a member of the senate and a member of the committee on Niger Delta had been breached, suggesting that he was not in the know of decisions reached by the panel on the budgets.

In reaction, the senate president said: “I have 17 people here who signed the report and that is more than the quorum required.”

He added that the report would be considered on another legislative day “for the general understanding amongst ourselves”.

“I believe that sometimes we may not be able to attend some of our meetings because we have other engagements elsewhere and when some of our colleagues do some things on our behalf, we should also respect what they have done.

“I will suggest that we stand down the report. If we are coming back to this senate tomorrow, then we take it because time is of the essence.”

The senate president directed the committee to meet and sort out the issues.

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