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NDDC List: Akpabio Links N’Assembly Committee Chairman To 19 Contracts

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Zainab Sanni

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has published the names of members of the National Assembly linked to some contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The minister, in a document attached to his response to the threat by the House of Representatives to sue him over the allegations that federal lawmakers were the major contractors of NDDC.

The House had on Thursday resolved to sue Akpabio for alleged perjury and defamation of the parliament following his claim
that the NDDC awarded members of the National Assembly 60 percent of contracts.

Akpabio had made the claim while appearing before the House Committee on the NDDC during an investigative hearing on the alleged illegal spending and mismanagement of funds,

The document accused the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, of inserting 19 contracts worth N9 billion into 2019 NDDC budget.

The former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC, Mr Nicholas Mutu, who represents the Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency of Delta State, is among those linked by the minister with contracts.

The minister listed Mutu’s name against 74 projects which included various emergency road projects in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayela, and  Rivers states.

Akpabio also linked the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta-North), with 53 projects, which included emergency repairs of Asue Street, Owa Phase 2; ldumuogbe Road via Ojemaye; Otolokpo College Road, Otolokpo; and the Police lshu Ani Ukwu Road, Issele Uku.

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.

READ ALSO: Akpabio Writes NASS, Denies Lawmakers Were Awarded Contracts

“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’).”

Akpabio, however, did not state if the lawmakers were directly awarded the contracts or they nominated the projects under their Zonal Intervention Projects, also known as constituency projects.

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