By G9ija

The Senate has launched a thorough investigation into alleged job racketeering rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission.

This follows a petition against the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and NDDC Management.

Akpabio and the interventionist agency were accused of refusing to document the appointments of seven job seekers from Ondo State, who legitimately applied and were duly issued letters of employment to work in the Commission.

Addressing newsmen on Thursday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Ayo Akinyelure, said the petition before his Committee had accused the former Minister and immediate past Management of the NDDC of deliberately denying job seekers opportunities to work in the Commission even after meeting with all the requirements.

The petition further accused officials of the NDDC of demanding bribe up to the tune of N2 million from job seekers to have their employments documented or have their slots sold to highest bidders.

The Senate Committee however absolved the current Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana, of any wrongdoing in the alleged job racketeering.

The panel also exonerated the Minister of all allegations contained in a separate petition that accused him of plotting to siphon N480 billion NDDC funds lodged with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The Senate Committee had in October extended invitation to the Minister to come forward and provide explanations to the weighty allegations, which included alleged plot to replace the erstwhile Sole Administrator, Effiong Akwa, a refusal to constitute the NDDC Board and attempts to withhold the budgets of the commission from 2021 to 2023 away from the scrutiny of the National Assembly.

Akinyelure said the Senate Committee met with the Minister behind closed doors and was pleased with his submissions on all the allegations levelled against him.

He said his Committee became even more tolerable to the Minister’s assurances to resolve other outstanding issues after the presentation of the budgets of NDDC before the Senate on Wednesday, coupled with moves by President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a new Board for the Commission.

Akinyelure’s Committee subsequently called on the Minister to take a look into the issue of alleged job racketeering inside the NDDC.