OrderPaperToday– Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission, Peter Nwaoboshi, has dared the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to publish facts of allegations that N1billion was paid monthly as consultancy fee to a company linked to him.
The committee of the NDDC was constituted by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, before names of nominees for the commission’s board were sent by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate for confirmation.
Joy Nunieh, acting managing director of committee, had earlier revealed that the commission suspended the monthly payment of N1billion to a consultant that collects money from International Oil Companies (IOCs), on its behalf, supposedly owned by Nwabaoshi.
“We have a consulting firm engaged as a collection agent. We have another company that also collects three per cent whenever money is paid by the International Oil Companies, IOCs,” Nunieh had said.
Reacting to her statement, Nwabaoshi’s special adviser on Legislative Matters, Luka Igbinoba, while briefing reporters on Monday, challenged the allegation.
Igbinoba said:“Senator Nwaoboshi is challenging the IMC that if such a thing exists they should publish it. If they have the facts and records to to back their claims that Senator Nwaoboshi or a company linked to him is being paid N1billion consultancy fee every month by the NDDC, let them avail the public with the records.
“What are you hiding? Let’s know who the consultant is or who owns the company. I can tell you that everything they are doing is about protection of self interest. Everything Akpabio cannot get, he tries to destroy.”
He also called on the minister to explain to Nigerians how the $91million and N6billion in the agency’s coffers under the supervision of his ministry was utilised.
The aide claimed that Akpabio is only trying to frustrate the newly confirmed board members for NDDC, adding that the minister had tried lobbying the Senate panel to reject the nominees.
“The IMC wanted to perpetuate themselves in power. They lobbied the committee and its chairman as well as the Senate that the new board members should not be screened but they refused.
“The truth is that if this country must survive, we must adhere to international best practices and the rule of law in the way we do things.
“This is the reason for the campaign of calumny against Senator Nwaoboshi. They are now accusing him wildly of things unfathomable,” he said.
Igbonoba disregarded claims by members of the IMC that 1000 contracts were awarded to a Senator by the NDDC.
“How many contracts does the NDDC award in a year that they will give 1000 contracts to one Senato?” he queried.
The aide also refuted a claim that the agency did not have budgets for 2017 and 2018, saying there are records that show the commission had approved budgets for the two years.
On the transfer of the NDDC from the presidency to be an agency under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, he described it as “illegal”.
“The annual budget for the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is just about N23billion but Akpabio is looking for an elephant and he felt that that elephant lives in NDDC,” he said.
He further disclosed that the leadership of the Senate is interfacing with the executive on the matter.