The National Assembly insists that its arrest warrant issued against the management of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) still stands, adding that their move is in accordance with the legislative process that permits public servants to give account for their actions.
Senator Ayo Akinyelure, Chairman of Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, reacts to queries from newsmen in Abuja after the alleged denial of ‘arrest warrant’ by Senator Peter Nwoboshi, the senate committee chairman on NDDC.
Newsmen earlier reported that Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, on 21st February 2021, sent an arrest warrant to the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission to be brought before it in other to account for how N6.25 billion palliative funds given to it by the Federal Government was spent.
The Chairman of the Committee insists that Senator Nwoboshi might have been misquoted, stating that the Committee’s arrest warrant still stands.
He said: “Maybe the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC was quoted out of context.
“As far as we are concerned in the Senate Committee on Ethics Privileges 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 further disclosed that the NDDC management, after the arrest order, had also reached to the Committee and promised to make them available 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 the necessary defense for them to come and explain,” he added.
He later explained that the procedure it takes to arrest a public officer takes time, adding that the Committee is keen on tackling the irregularities perpetrated by the NDDC.
“In the meantime, the process of issuing a warrant of arrest in Senate delays a little. It’s not just by pronouncement, and the 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 honor a Committee, under our rule, the Committee Chairman and others can resolve to issue an arrest warrant, which accordingly is what we did in our last meeting. No controversy about that.
“By now the process of issuing a 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 defense, and when they are going to present their defense, it’s to be during the public hearing,” he said.