OrderPaperToday – The Senate Committee Chairman on Niger Delta, Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North) has denied claims that he was awarded 53 contracts by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The allegation, which is credited to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, equally mentioned other lawmakers who were given contracts in the Commission.
Akpabio’s submission followed an ultimatum by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to the minister publish the names of those lawmakers who got contracts after the former earlier alleged that lawmakers had been awarded some projects in the commission.
Reacting to this new allegation, Nwaoboshi, in a statement signed by himself on Monday dared Akpabio “to send so-called list to anti graft and other security agencies if he can substantiate the apparently baseless allegation.”
The Senator said he would desist from making further comments on the matter as it is currently before two courts.
He however alleged that Akpabio’s recent allegation is a “well known agenda to continuously blackmail me so as to keep diverting public attention away from the serious 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.”
Nwaoboshi rather advised Akpabio and the Interim Management Committee of the commission to explain to Nigerians how they spent N81.5 billion within five months on “questionable expenditures”.
According to the Senator, these expenditures “are just a tip of the mind boggling and reckless payments running into billions of naira paid by the IMC members to themselves and expended with the approval of Mr Akpabio…”
He also told Akpabio and the IMC to “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.”
The embattled senator proceeded to list the said expenditures.
Similarly, Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South), a former Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, denied benefiting six contracts from the Commission during and after his chairmanship.
In a statement released on Monday, Manager threatened legal action against the Commission’s acting Executive Director in charge of Projects, Cairo Ojougboh, for defamation.
Manager said: “I sincerely wish to react as follows: That my tenure as chairman of Niger Delta Committee in the Senate effectively ended in 2015. That ever since then I have never visited NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt or any of its branches.
“That NDDC never awarded any contract to any company owned by me. That I do not know of any company owned by me, that has ever gone into bidding for government jobs anywhere in the world. (This may come to many as a surprise but that is the gospel truth).”
He demanded that Ojougboh back his allegations with evidence.
“Those who are alleging to defame me must be aware of the consequences. That in the interest of the gullible innocent public, the authors led by the said Dr. Cairo Ojougboh or any other person should provide among other things the following please;
“(A) detailed description of the said jobs. (B) names of companies (C) payments already made and to whom? (D) job performance (E) The Directors as they appear in the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). That I sincerely in the name God request for proof of evidence. This is a very simple minimum demand”, he added.
Recall that the Senate in it’s report investigating the commission called for the dissolution of the IMC of the NDDC.