The acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, has collapsed during the ongoing hearing of the House Committee on the commission following an intense grilling by the lawmakers.
He was evacuated from the conference room on emergency ground after he appeared unwell and needed medical attention. The acting NDDC boss was responding to allegations of 1.5billion financial misappropriation when he suddenly collapsed.
The development led to the adjournment of the hearing for thirty-five minutes.
However, at the resumed hearing, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who paid an unscheduled visit to the investigative hearing noted that the ongoing probe was not to prosecute anyone but a mere fact-finding mission.
While commending Tunji-Ojo on his decision to withdraw as chairman of the committee, Gbajabiamila said that the decision was a testament that the lawmakers were out to ensure a credible exercise.
He, however, advised the committee to work with the written report submitted by NDDC acting MD and allow him to take care of his health issues, adding that the committee should round up the hearing after the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, presents his documents.
“This is a fact-finding mission for the people of Nigeria just to make things better and we should handle it at such. I want to commend the chairman of this committee who this morning recused himself from the start of proceeding for today’s session. It shows the level of integrity of himself and by extension this committee and further extension of the House of Representatives.
“I believe that he has set the stage for a free and fair hearing. Moving forward, perhaps because of the condition in this hall, I say we don’t even need to hear further from the Acting MD because he has already submitted his written report and I heard the committee asking him to speak to his document and I think you can use the document to do the work that needs to be done.
“But the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has been here for a while and has been sitting quietly and patiently over there. Under these circumstances, we should quickly allow the committee to take testimony from Senator Akpabio and after him, the committee should allow one witness and close the hearing as it was in the first instance billed for two days.
“On this note, I wish Mr. Pondei the best and I have instructed the clerk of the committee to visit the hospital and find out how the acting MD is doing to know what next we can do to move on,” he said.