By Emmanuel Ufot
Based on the recanting of Senator Godswill Akpabio that he did not say 60 percent of NDDC contracts go to National Assembly members through a letter he sent to the House which was read by the Speaker Femu Gbajabiamila, many had reasoned that the matter may have been swept under the carpet through behind the scene intrigues sparked by the 48 hours ultimatum to Akpabio to name the contract beneficiaries.
However since Monday July 27, 2020 the media was awashed with list of the senators and House of Representatives members that benefited from the NDDC contracts as inferred by the Niger Delta Affairs minister which had been a subject of ripples in the National Assembly. The disclosure of the names, Nigerians have now found out was initially contained in the memo senator Godswill Akpabio sent to the House which the Speaker referred to the Business and Ethics Committee for further investigation.
Prominent among 30 lawmakers of the two chambers listed by Akpabio that have been beneficiaries of the NDDC contracts were Senator Peter Nwaboshi ( Delta North) Chairman Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs who had 53 projects, Nicholas Mutu- 74 projects, Samuel Anyanwu (Imo)-19 projects, James Manager (Delta)- 19 projects and Mathew Urhoghude (Edo)- 6 projects.
According to the minister’s list Senator Nwaboshi’s projects included emergency road repairs of Asue Street, Owa Phase 2, Idumogbe Road through Ojemegbe, Otolokpo College Road, Otolokpo and the Police Ishu Ski Ukwa Road Iseke Uku in Delta state. For Senator Mutu, former Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, the 74 NDDC contracts listed against his name included emergency road projects in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and River States. Also making the list is the Chairman House Committee on NDDC Olubumi Tunji- Ola who like his counter part in the senate Nwaboshi were conducting probe on NDDC.
Other members in the House listed as NDDC contract beneficiaries include a representative from Bayelsa who got contracts worth N413,293,005 million, Imo Representative, N585,777,933 m, Edo Representative N502,435,025 m and Honourable Made N484,762,887m.
Snippets of the document also listed an unnamed House of Representatives caucus member as having got contracts worth N254,384,426m through one Kabaka Brown. Also a caucus member of North East Representatives got two contracts worth N484,762,887m.
Beyond the legislators, others listed as having done the agency contracts in the period under review are, Assistant Inspector General, AIG, of Police, Operations, Abuja who got contract worth N286,771,348 m, DIG Ochei, N348,702,613m, GOC, 6 Division ,Army, N349,976,919m, CSO/ ONC N150,342,858m, George Moghalu Auditor/ EDP N198,397,145m.
Moghalu, is currently the Managing Director, Nigerian Inland Water Ways, NIWA, an agency of the Federal ministry of Transportation, FMT, under the close watch of Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state.
Intervention agency was said to have awarded EDP/ Giadom a contract worth about N663,155,999m and N549,013 while Justice Nnamdi Dimgha a Federal High Court Judge got contract to the tune of N249,555,306m.
Akpabio’s list as demanded by the House Speaker is coming amidst the mind boggling revelation of fraud and misappropriation of funds of NDDC and the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs calling for the sacking of Daniel Pondei Interim Management Committee, IMC, and the mandate that the Committee, should refund some of the spurious spending done on frivolous matters since January 2020.
But the affected legislators have responded to their names listed as contract beneficiaries. Senator Nwaboshi whom ironically his committee was probing NDDC denied doing any contract and challenged Akpabio whom he described as a confused man to liase with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC to produce names of the companies, their shareholders and Board of Directors that received the contract.
James Manager, a two term senator also from Delta has also denied benefitting from NDDC contracts and threatened to sue Akpabio. For Tunji- Ojo who heads the House Committee on NDDC where Akpabio during appearance indicted the legislators of being contract beneficiaries, said Akpabio’s claim is spurious and mischievous.
Many believe that only Joi Nunieh, a former Managing Director of DNDDC and Cairo Ojuogboh, Executive Director Projector, Projects, are in a position to officially disclose the names of the Lawmakers who had benefitted from the Intervention agency contracts and not Akpabio, the supervising minister of the agency.
They noted that the minister’s claims confirms the allegations of Nunieh, the former minister of the agency that the minister interferes with the affairs of the agency and manipulates its budgetary allocations. This may have given the Lawmakers ground to fight back Akpabio, who they have described as an enemy.Nigerians are watching to see how the quarrel between Akpabio and the Lawmakers will end.