JUST IN: Akpabio finally names lawmakers who got NDDC Contracts

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has named lawmakers who allegedly received contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Akpabio made this known in a letter made available to POLITICS NIGERIA on Sunday night. The former Senator had sent to the National Assembly and copied to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

According to the document, Akpabio said Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP-Delta North), who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs got some contracts from the commission.

The minister said the lawmaker was awarded 53 projects which included Emergency Repairs of Asue Street, Owa Phase 2, Emergency Repairs of ldumuogbe Road via Ojemaye, Emergency Repairs of Otolokpo College Road, Otololkpo, and Emergency Repairs of Police lshu Ani Ukwu Road, Issele Uku.

They also included Emergency Repairs of old Sapele Agbor Road, Obiaruku, Emergency Repairs of Ehwerhe Obada Road Agbarho Road, Emergency Repairs of Ifeanyi Eboigbe Street Boji Boji Owa/Goodwill Street, Owa Alero, and Emergency Repairs of Ahiama Okwu to Obuocha Okwu among others.

Also, the minister listed the former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC, Hon. Nicholas Ebomo Mutu's name against 74 projects which included various emergency road projects in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Rivers states.

Other lawmakers that Akpabio listed projects against are, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (six), James Manager (six), Sam Anyanwu (19) and others simply identified as Ondo and Edo Reps.

The minister, however, did not provide the cost of the projects listed against the lawmakers' names, while the value of contracts given to non-lawmakers had costs of various projects attached to them.

It was learned that contracts listed against the names of the lawmakers were not up to 60 per cent of the 266 on the list provided by Akpabio.

Non-National Assembly members are also on the list.

The letter read in part: “May I extend to Mr Speaker the compliments of my office and those of the staff of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

“I refer to the resolution of the House passed on the 21st July 2020 and forwarded to me on the same day Ref. NASS/HR/LEG/3/36/VOL.ll/O8 directing me to respond to the contents therein within 48

“The investigating Committee on NDDC refused and/or neglected to give me the opportunity to explain that reference to most NDDC contracts yearly being awarded since 2001 from the records allegedly to members of the National Assembty in both Chambers were done without the knowledge of the alleged beneficiaries. However, the two Chairmen of the Committees in both Chambers had adequate knowledge;

“I never referred to members of the 9th National Assembly as beneficiaries of NDDC contracts as NDDC is yet to fully implement any NDDC budget since the commencement of the 9th National Assembly. In fact. the 2019 budget passed in February and harmonised between the 4th and 5th of March 2020 was received by the Commission in the middle of April, 2020, when same was designated to expire on the 31st of May, 2020.

“However, it is pertinent to point out that the Clerk of the National Assembly forwarded a letter Ref. NASS/CNA/115/VOL.38/1175, dated 20th March, 2020, without attaching the budget details indicating that the 2020 budget of the NDDC passed into Law was being fonlvarded (copy of the letter is attached as Annexure ‘A’). This anomaly was brought to the attention of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee investigating a purported financial recklessness by the management of the commission in July 2020, though the first outcry was on allegation of missing N40bn which was totally untrue;

“It has always been known that the two chairmen of the committees on NDDC in both chambers yearly exhibit unusual influence to the exclusion of committee members and even the management of the NDDC in appropriating funds to details embellished in the budget after passage of line items at the plenaries. In the 2019 budget, the Executive Director Projects forwarded to me the attached list of 19 Nos. old contracts amounting to almost N9bn after tax, that the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on NDDC, Honourable Tunji-Ojo, insisted the IMC of NDDC must pay before 2019 budget details could be released to the commission."

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