- Federal lawmakers have faulted Godswill Akpabio for alleging they are beneficiaries of NDDC contracts
- The legislators discredit the claim that they got contracts from the NDDC
- A member of the House of Reps, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, accused Akpabio of changing stories just to get public sympathy
Federal lawmakers named by the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as beneficiaries of contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) have faulted the allegation.
The minister had alleged that some senators and members of the House of Representatives had received contracts from the commission between 2017 to date.
But in a swift reaction, one of the senators accused of collecting contracts, Peter Nwabaoshi, told This Day newspaper that Akpabio is a confused individual.
Nwabaoshi who served as the chairman of the Senate committee on Niger Delta, challenged the minister to publish the names of the directors and shareholders of the companies that executed the said 53 NDDC contracts he claimed was linked to him (Nwabaoshi).
“He (Akpabio) is confused. I challenge him to publish the directors and shareholders of these companies. I don’t award contract and I don’t pay for contracts. My brother, go to CAC and find out the truth. I pity him,” Nwabaoshi was quoted saying.
Another lawmaker, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who was accused of inserting 19 contracts worth N9 billion into 2019 NDDC budget, described Akpabio’s allegation as false.
Tunji-Ojo who serves as the chairman of the House Of Representatives committee on NDDC challenged the minister to back his accusations with evidence.
He denied padding the NDDC budget and accused Akpabio of making the allegations to divert the attention of Nigerians from the mismanagement of NDDC resources.
Tunji-Ojo said the minister was changing stories just to get public sympathy.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to sack the agency's interim management committee of the NDDC, led by Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei.
The Senate called for the IMC dissolution during a plenary on Thursday, July 23, after the probe panel led by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi said it discovered various financial infractions and reckless spending in the account of the commission.
The upper legislative chamber also recommended that the NDDC should be relocated back to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) for proper supervision.
In other news, more revelations have emerged in the ongoing probe into the reckless spending of the NDDC.
On Thursday, July 23, the Senate disclosed that since 2015 when the current President Muhammadu Buhari-led government took over till 2019, the commission has spent about N1.3 trillion.
The eye-opening revelation was made during a plenary after the Senate committee probing the NDDC submitted its reports to the National Assembly.
The committee, led by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, said most of the spending were extra-budgetary, adding that errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.
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