The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Monday stirred hornets’ nest as he released a list of purported beneficiaries of contracts of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which showed names of some members of the National Assembly (NASS).
The released names are far from his earlier claim that members of the National Assembly had over 60 percent of the NDDC contracts.
This is just as the Niger Delta minister failed to state if the federal legislators were either directly awarded the contracts or through their proxies nor if the contracts were part of the lawmakers projects under their Zonal Intervention Projects usually referred to “constituency projects”.
The list released by Akpabio showed that the former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC, Hon. Nicholas Mutu, who represents the Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency of Delta State, is among those linked with the contracts according to the Minister.
Based on the list, Akpabio indicated that Mutu had 74 projects in his name in addition to other emergency road projects in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states.
Akpabio’s list equally indicated that the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta-North) benefitted 53 contracts which included emergency repairs of Asue Street, Owa Phase 2; ldumuogbe Road via Ojemaye; Otolokpo College Road, Otolokpo; and the Police lshu Ani Ukwu Road, Issele Uku.
The list also included Senator James Manager (PDP Delta State) with seven contracts contrary to earlier claim by the Director of Projects of the NDDC, Dr Cairo, who had alleged that the Delta State born legislator had over 300 contracts to himself for which monies were paid for but jobs not done.
However, in a swift reaction, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi challenged Senator Akpabio to assist Nigerians by pointing at any company with his name that executed NDDC projects.
Nwaoboshi, who challenged Akpabio in a statement by his Media Assistant, Awele Onokwai Snr, pointedly said that there was no time he executed NDDC projects and therefore called on the Minister of Niger Delta to come clean on how the NDDC under his supervision expended N81.5 billion during the COVID-19 lockdown period.