Godswill Akpabio
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Akpabio to NASS: 60 per cent of NDDC contracts given to lawmakers

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A scandalous allegation of 60 per cent contract awards of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) given to National Assembly members was leveled by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio on Monday.

 

 

He made the allegation at the public hearing on the multi-billion fraud at the commission organized by the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC.

 

Akapbio’s claim had triggered a serious reaction between him and a committee member that contracts of the commission, about 60 per cent were awarded to some lawmakers who also failed to provide documentary evidence.

“Most of the contracts in NDDC are given out to the members of the National Assembly. If you don’t know, please ask the two chairmen.

“I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in NDDC are given out to members of the national assembly but you don’t know about it, the two chairmen can explain to you. I was a member of the NDDC committee so I know about it,’’ said the minister, lawyer, ex-senator and immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom.

 

In 2016, then Acting Managing Director of the commission, Ibim Semenitari, said the contract had always been awarded to cronies, friends, families, girl friends and NASS members with contractors doing shoddy jobs, Persecondnews recalls.

 

In that year, for instance, NDDC commenced legal processes toward terminating the contract for the construction of a 522-bed space prototype hostel at the Ambrose Ali University in Ekpoma, Edo State, citing terrible work.

“Contractors like this should not be allowed to go scot free. This is unfathomable. By next week I want to sign the termination letter for this contract so that it can be re-assigned to a contractor who is ready to work to get the job back on track.

“Yes, we have some areas we have been very upset. It is very sad because the funds are not ours to spend as we please. The funds do not belong to the contractors as well to use as they will. So, it is sad when you see contractors who have taken money and done nothing and then you see other contractors who have done so much and are being owed by the commission. You just wonder why we are not striking the balance here,” Ibim said.

 

Specifically, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, was also accused of looting N3.6 billion from the NDDC in contract scams in 2016.

Persecondnews also reports that when Akpabio was asked by the Committee Deputy Chairman, Thomas Ereyitomi, who presided over the hearing, if contract was given to the Committee Chairman, Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ondo), he recanted, saying “I did not mean that or it was interpreted to mean that. I apologise.’’

Ereyitomi had put it to him that Tunji-Ojo was not a member of the House or committee in the period he referred to.

At this point, the committee chair stopped Akpabio while shouting “Hon. Minister, it’s okay, it’s okay.”

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