The Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, has described as false, the allegation that he was awarded 53 contracts by the Niger Delta Development Commission in 2018.
The Senator’s denial was contained in a statement he signed on Monday, titled, “Re: Allegations of NDDC Contract Award to Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (Chairman: Senate Committee On Niger Delta) by the Hon. Min of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.”
Nwaoboshi challenged Akpabio to send details of the projects listed against his name to the anti-graft agencies in the country if he was sure of his facts.
He alleged that Akpabio was deliberately blackmailing him to divert public attention from the alleged serious mismanagement of the NDDC by the Interim Management Committee under his supervision.
Akpabio had in a document attached to the letter he sent to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, alleged that Nwaoboshi got 53 contracts from the NDDC in 2018.
He was reacting to the ultimatum given by Gbajabiamila, to name the beneficiaries of the claim during his appearance before the House Committee on the NDDC investigative hearing that 60 per cent of the NDDC jobs were awarded to National Assembly members.
Nwaoboshi said, “In the said (PUNCH) publication, 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 the 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 from the serious mismanagement of the NDDC by the Interim Management Committee under his supervision and under the guise of a phantom forensic audit that has no operating timeline.
“My advise to Mr Akpabio and the IMC is to focus their energy on explaining to Nigerians how they spent a whopping N81.5bn within a period of five months”
Nwaoboshi alleged that IMC spent N58m on refreshment/logistics for project verification paid to IMC and staff of the agency.
He also said NDDC paid N370m as expenses to IMC for 2019 and 2020 budgets defence, respectively, at the National Assembly.
He alleged that staff medical checkup gulped N4.9bn under the IMC
He further alleged that the IMC was paying N51.8 million every month as an allowance to the MD IMC and N18 million every month to each member of the IMC.
He said, “The above revelations are just a tip of the mind-boggling and reckless payments running into billions of naira paid by the IMC members to themselves.
“They were expended with the approval of Mr Akpabio on mundane and useless projects that have no developmental impact on the life and livelihood of the Niger Delta people as envisioned by the founding fathers of the NDDC.
“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.
“I will in the meantime express my unwavering commitment to improving the lots of our people in the Niger Delta, supporting quality legislation in the National Assembly, and working for a society every Nigerian can be proud of.
“This is my mission in politics and I would not be distracted by the antics of political mudslingers and their agents.”