A Nigerian official made headlines yesterday morning after he collapsed during a televised parliamentary hearing as part of an investigation into alleged mismanagement of funds linked to developments in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
Daniel Pondei, the acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), lasted less than an hour before he fainted in front of the House of Representatives committee on Monday.
The committee pressed Pondei over payments he allegedly made without the approval of the National Assembly. The politician was also challenged over N336m paid out to the Save Life Campaign in the Niger Delta.
He then appeared to suffer a seizure. Pondei was immediately rushed to the hospital and was released hours later. According to a statement released by the Director of Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, Pondei ignored medical experts’ advice to forgo the hearing.
“The commission wishes to disclose that Prof. Pondei has been ill for the past two weeks. This morning, his condition deteriorated and his doctors advised against attending the hearing,” the statement begins. “However, he ignored his doctors’ advice because of the realisation that his accusers will use his absence at the hearing to soil his name and reputation. He thought he could make it through the hearing and take care of his health later. As it turned out, his doctors were right. Prof. Pondei is in a stable condition at a clinic in Abuja.”
The Professor of Medicine and former Acting Managing Director of NDDC seems to have taken a dislike to parliamentary appearances of late. Last Thursday, he walked out of an investigative hearing in Abuja after accusing the Chairman of the House of Representative committee, Olubumi Tunji-Ojo, of holding bias and corruption.