Fred Itua, Abuja
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has exposed members of the National Assembly, who allegedly got inflated and unexecuted contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The revelations were contained in a letter by the minister sent to the National Assembly and released to the public last night.
The National Youth Council of Nigeria which presented the document to the media in Abuja expressed disappointment that the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, refused to disclose the list of federal lawmakers who benefitted from the contracts awarded by the NDDC.
According to the document, Akpabio listed Nwaoboshi’s name against 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 Mutu’s name against 74 projects which included various emergency road projects in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayela, 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.
Akpabio’s letter was also copied to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
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 (see Annexure ‘A1’).