The Nigerian Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu has reacted to being listed among National Assembly members that benefited from Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had purportedly listed Kalu among federal lawmakers he claimed got 60 per cent of contracts awarded by the NDDC.
But in a statement on Monday released by Mr Emeka Nwala, Office of the Senate Chief Whip, Kalu said that the projects that got him listed as beneficiaries of NDDC contracts were road projects he facilitated in Abia State as a private citizen in 2016.
The senator and former Abia State governor added that the contractors of the project were yet to be paid by the commission.
Kalu said, “The road projects mentioned by the minister are the interventions I facilitated for the communities as a private citizen before I became a senator.
“I was Governor of Abia between 1999 and 2007 and never held any public office until June 11, 2019, when I was sworn in as a senator.
“Between 2016 and 2018 during my tour to several communities, leaders and welfare unions of most communities pleaded for urgent intervention on some dilapidated roads.
“I wrote to the NDDC informing the body of the conditions of these roads and the need for their attention since Abia is an NDDC state.
“The NDDC in their consideration which I am very grateful to awarded the roads to companies that duly tendered for the projects and not myself.
“Whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention.”
He noted that the contracts in question were awarded by the fully constituted body of NDDC with its board and not any interim management of the commission.
He listed the roads to include Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu road, Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru ring road and Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze Ndi Oji Abam-Atan road.
Others are Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende and Ozu-Amuru-Abam roads.
He added, “The contractors have completed and delivered these roads a long time ago except Abam-Atani road, which I learnt from the contractors was slowed down due to rain but still ongoing.
“Meanwhile, the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime.
“I am much concerned about roads because I understand the economic importance of good roads.
“As a community leader, I do not intend to stop my interventions on roads in NDDC states because all the states need good roads. Goodroads help to drive the economy.”
The Senate Chief Whip noted that the issue at stake in the NDDC was over missing funds and not works done.
Kalu, therefore, urged the NDDC forensic auditors to focus on the missing funds and not on the works done.
He also called on the NDDC to ensure the pay contractors that delivered their jobs.
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