By Fred Itua, The Sun
Barely 24 hours after the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, named some senators and members of the House of Representatives involved in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contract racketeering, some lawmakers have protested.
According to Akpabio, chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Peter Nwaoboshi, got paid for 53 unexecuted projects. He also named James Manager who headed the same committee in previous Assemblies.
Reacting to the accusation, Nwaoboshi described the accusation as false. He said Akpabio’s accusations were false and have no bearing with the truth.
He said: “Mr Akpabio alleged that I was awarded contracts for 53 NDDC projects. I wish to state unequivocally that this allegation has no bearing with the truth and challenge Mr Akpabio to send so-called list to anti graft and other security agencies if he can substantiate the apparently baseless allegation. Indeed I would have made further comments but for the fact that the matter is currently before two competent courts of law.
“However, suffice it to say that this unsubstantiated allegation is in line with Mr Akpabio’s well known agenda to continuously blackmail me so as to keep diverting public attention away from the sen’ous mismanagement of the NDDC by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) under his supervision and under the guise of a phantom forensic audit that has no operating time line.
“My advise to Mr. Akpabio and the IMC is to focus their energy on explaining to Nigerians how they spent a whopping N81.5 billion within a period of five months.
NDDC probe: Akpabio Should Apologise
“Mr Akpabio and his IMC should apologise to the Niger Delta people in particular and Nigerians in general for this grand wastage arising from their crass incompetence. As a realist, I am confident that a day will come when Mr. Akpabio and his IMC will have a date with the law.”
Manager on his part said: “My tenure as chairman of Niger Delta committee in the Senate effectively ended in 2015. Ever since then, I have never visited NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt or any of its branches.
“NDDC never awarded any contract to any company owned by me. I do not know of any company owned by me, that has ever gone into bidding of Government jobs anywhere in the world. This may come to many as a surprise but this is the gospel truth.
“Those who are alleging to defame me must be aware of the consequences. In the interest of the gullible innocent public, the authors led by the said Dr Cairo Ojugboh or any other person should provide some things.”