The Federal Government and oil companies operating in the country reportedly owe the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) a total of N2.787 trillion and $485.336 million.

Nsima Ekere, Managing Director of NDDC disclosed this on Tuesday at the opening of investigative hearing by the House of Representatives into all outstanding sums due to the NDDC.

Breakdown of the amount showed that the Federal Government defaulted in the remittance of 15 per cent of federal allocation due to Niger Delta member states to the tune of N1.317 trillion out of the total N1.932 trillion since year 2000.

In addition, the Federal Government paid N45.091 billion, leaving N1.362 trillion due to NDDC from the Ecological Fund.

According to him, out of $500.003 million and N516.149 billion due to be paid by the 45 registered oil companies to NDDC in the period under review, the sum of $4.544 million and N407.860 billion were paid so far, leaving outstanding of $458.336 million and N108.290 billion.

On the efforts made so far to recover the fund, Ekere disclosed that NDDC dragged some of the erring contributors, including NLNG, to court, adding that the commission was working with Petroleum Resources (DPR) and National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) to get list of new companies coming into the industry.

He also urged the House of Representatives to give the commission the power for sanction defaulters in the next amendment of the NDDC Act.

Ekere alleged that NLNG refused to provide details of its annual budget to NDDC, with the view to determine the statutory of three per cent levy provided for in the NDDC Act.

He also debunked reports that NLNG was owing N300 million, just as he challenged NLNG to produce evidence of its annual budget.

The NDDC boss noted that the present administration initiated reforms, which resulted in the World Bank grant of $200 million, which is yet to be accessed.

While declaring the investigative hearing open, Speaker Yakubu Dogara explained that the exercise was to ascertain whether those funds were utilised in compliance with the provisions of the extant laws.

Dogara, who was represented by Pally Iriase, Deputy Chief Whip, noted that the NDDC Act was initiated as part of efforts geared towards facilitating rapid, even and sustainable development of the region to an economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful region.

“It is common knowledge that the NDDC has been greatly constrained in carrying out its objectives in the region, in view of the various complaints and allegations against the authorities of the commission.

“The House is determined to verify these allegations, with a view to getting all the facts to enable us make necessary resolutions that will change the trend of things in the region,” Dogara assured.

Speaking earlier, Ahmed Chachangi, who presided over the investigative hearing, expressed concern over the allegations bordering on non-remittance and underpayment by the oil companies and the Federal Government.

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