Godswill Akpabio, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, has submitted the names of lawmakers that benefited from NDDC contracts.
It will be recalled that the Speaker of the House of Reps, Hon. Femi Gbajamiamila, had called on the minister to release the names of lawmakers who benefited from NDDC contracts.
According to reports, Akpabio has since submitted the names of the lawmakers and according to Akpabio’s letter, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi of Delta State was involved in 53 projects, while Senator Nicholas Mutu was involved with 74 projects.
Also, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (six), James Manager (six), Sam Anyanwu (19) and others simply identified as Ondo and Edo Reps.
Akpabio’s letter read in part: “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.”
In the letter, Akpabio explained that that the Committee on NDDC refused him to provide detailed explanation of his claim that most contracts in the commission were being awarded yearly since 2001 to members of the National Assembly in both Chambers.
He also disclosed that the two Chairmen of the Committees in both Chambers had adequate knowledge of the contracts.
Akpabio added: “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 forwarded (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’).”