The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, may have revealed the names of members of the National Assembly that got contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
A group claimed on Sunday that the minister actually submitted the names to the committee of the federal lawmakers probing the alleged misappropriation in the NDDC last Thursday but that the committee did not make it public.
President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Solomon Adodo, who made the purported document available to newsmen in Abuja, said it was also part of a letter Akpabio sent to the National Assembly and copied the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
Among the National Assembly members Akpabio purportedly mentioned in the list was Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who according to the document was involved in 53 projects.
Another senator, Nicholas Mutu’s name was mentioned in 74 projects.
Akpabio also named Senator Mathew Urhoghide to have got six projects, James Manager six, Sam Anyanwu 19, as well as others he simply identified as Ondo and Edo Reps members.
The 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,” the letter allegedly read in part.
He, however, noted that he was not given enough time by the probe panel that most contracts in the commission were being awarded yearly since 2001 to both members of the National Assembly.
The minister added that the two chairmen of both the Senate and Reps committees were fully aware of the contracts.
He said, “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’).”
The lawmakers had on Tuesday given Akpabio 48 hours to make public names of National Assembly members he claimed received NDDC contracts or be dragged to court.
On Thursday they received a letter from Akpabio, wherein he was said to have denied accusing members of the National Assembly of collecting 60 percent of contracts in the NDDC.
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