Orji Kalu: NDDC still owing contractors that handled road projects I facilitated

The lawmaker representing Abia North at the National Assembly, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has said that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had not paid contractors that handled roads he facilitated in Abia.

The senator made this known in a statement on Monday issued by his spokesman, Mr Emeka Nwala, made available to reporters.

Kalu dismissed the claim made by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio that 60 percent of contracts awarded by the commission were handled by members of the National Assembly.

The former Abia state governor explained that the minister mentioned his name because he used his letter headed paper to write a sympathetic letter to NDDC in 2016 pleading with the commission to rescue roads in Abia.

He, however, urged the commission to focus on paying contractors that delivered their jobs.

“The road projects mentioned by the minister are the interventions I facilitated for the communities as a private citizen before I became a senator,’’ he said.

“I was Governor of Abia between 1999 and 2007 and never held any public office until June 11, 2019, when I was sworn in as a senator.

“Between 2016 and 2018 during my tour to several communities, leaders and welfare unions of most communities pleaded for urgent intervention on some dilapidated roads.

“I wrote to the NDDC informing the body of the conditions of these roads and the need for their attention since Abia is an NDDC state.

“The NDDC in their consideration which I am very grateful to award the roads to companies that duly tendered for the projects and not myself.

“Whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention.”

He added: “The roads I requested for intervention as mentioned by the minister were repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu road, Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru ring road and Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze Ndi Oji Abam-Atan road. “Others are Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende and Ozu-Amuru-Abam roads.

“The contractors have completed and delivered these roads a long time ago except  Abam-Atani road, which I learned from the contractors was slowed down due to rain but still ongoing.

“Meanwhile, the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime.

“I am much concerned about roads because I understand the economic importance of good roads. “As a community leader, I do not intend to stop my interventions on roads in NDDC states because all the states need good roads.

“Good roads help to drive the economy,’’ Kalu said.

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