OrderPaperToday – Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor-Kalu, on Monday replied the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, who mentioned him as one of the beneficiaries of contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Uzor-Kalu, in his response, also claimed that the NDDC were yet to pay contractors for projects already executed.

The Senator’s name was mentioned alongside other lawmakers following an ultimatum issued by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Last week, Senators Samuel Anyanwu, James Manager and Peter Nwaoboshi denied Akpabio’s allegation.

Similarly, the Abia Senator in a statement signed and released by Barrister Emeka Nwala of office of the Senate Chief Whip, denied the claim and stated that he won’t stop requesting for construction of roads in his state.

He said: “I was Governor of Abia State between 1999-2007 and never held any public office until June 11, 2019 when I was sworn in as a Senator. Between 2016- 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, awarded 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.

“The roads I requested for intervention as mentioned by the Honourable Minister were repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road;Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road, Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze; Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road; the Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende road and Ozu-Amuru-Abam Road.

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

“Meanwhile, it would interest Nigerians to know that the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime. It has not been easy with the contractors but because it’s a community project they have only but kept hope alive on the NDDC.”

Uzor-Kalu rather advised the forensic audit of the Commission should focus on missing funds and payment of contractors

He said: “I am so much concerned about roads because I understand the economic importance of good roads , that’s why I built several roads when I was Governor. Even as a Senator, it would interest you to know that my major constituency projects are road constructions, reconstructions and rehabilitations. We have put in plans to finish 19 roads in Abia North before end of 2021.

“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. Therefore, I believe the NDDC forensic audit should focus on the missing funds and not works done. They should focus on paying contractors that delivered their jobs and not using my name indiscriminately to sell newspapers.

“The Honourable Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio is my good old friend. We have been friends even before I became a governor. I hope he doesn’t expect me to stop seeking for road interventions in our communities. It is his civic responsibility to support the communities and I am very confident he will oblige our future requests especially in areas of good roads.”

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