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Senate Summons Orubebe, Others Over Coastal Line Roads

Source: EMMA UCHE - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: NIGER DELTA MINISTER, GODSDAY ORUBEBE.
PHOTO: NIGER DELTA MINISTER, GODSDAY ORUBEBE.
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ABUJA, Nov 23, (THEWILL) - The Senate Committee on Niger Delta wielded the big stick today when it summoned Godsday Orubebe, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Engr. Emeka Eze, and the Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Chibuzor Ugwuoha.

They were summoned to explain a seeming duplication in the award of contracts for the construction of the Niger Delta coastal roads.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta) at an interactive session expressed concern over the failure of the Minister of Niger Delta to attend the meeting.

The committee in separate letters dated Monday, 22nd November 2010 invited Orubebe, BPP Director General and NDDC Managing Director with the view to clear the air on the status of the project.

He said: "The issue at stake is simply on surveying and designing of the Niger Delta coastal roads. The roads that we believe are very crucial and important to the Niger Delta people. The proposed roads are going to cost government of the federation a lot of money because there is no way you go into construction without surveying and designing.

"We see that there is an overlap in the budget process and we have seen that the Ministry of Niger Delta is making an attempt to survey and design the Niger Delta coastal roads. We have also seen that the Niger Delta coastal roads are already undergoing survey and design by the Niger Delta Development Commission, a contract that was awarded some few years back.

"These are some of the issues that we want to clarify and whatever the executive is doing does not actually preclude us, this is a different arm of government, this is the National Assembly and whatever we do we are conscious of what is going on the Executive side. But that is not to say that whatever is happening on the Executive side we have no right to look into it because under Section 88(a, b) of the Constitution we have distinct responsibility to look into whatever that is there. We have right to protect and we also have right to oversight activities of the Executive and the government.

"So it is not a meeting to witch-hunt anybody, its not even to probe anybody but to know what is happening on our side so that if there are knotty issues we can resolve them," he noted.

Orubebe however in a letter dated 23rd November 2010 to the Chairman noted that there was no need for the meeting since President Goodluck Jonathan had set up a technical committee headed by Emeka Eze, BPP Director General to look into the issue and advise government.

The letter read: "I am directed to inform you that the matter is receiving attention at the presidency which has already set up a technical committee headed by Engr. Eze, DG Bureau of Public Procurement to look into the issue involved and advise government accordingly.

"Until this is resolved, it may be inappropriate for us to discuss the matter as it may have preempted the government decision," Orubebe’s letter said.

While reacting to this, Chairman of the committee, argued that the statement undermined the Senate just as he directed the Minister to appear before the committee next week Tuesday by 1pm.