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The Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, has described as false, the allegation that he was awarded 53 contracts by the Niger Delta Development Commission in 2018.
Nwaoboshi’s denial was contained in a statement he signed on Monday, titled, ‘Re: Allegations of NDDC Contract Award to Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (Chairman: Senate Committee on Niger Delta) by the Hon. Min of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.’
Nwaoboshi challenged Akpabio to send details of the projects listed against his name to the anti-graft agencies in the country if he was sure of his facts.
He alleged that Akpabio was deliberately blackmailing him to divert public attention from the alleged mismanagement of the NDDC by the Interim Management Committee under his supervision.
Akpabio had, in a document attached to the letter he sent to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, alleged that Nwaoboshi got 53 contracts from the NDDC in 2018.
He was reacting to the ultimatum given him by Gbajabiamila, to name lawmakers who were awarded NDDC contracts as he claimed during his appearance before the House Committee on NDDC. Akpabio had claimed that 60 per cent of the NDDC jobs were awarded to National Assembly members.
Nwaoboshi said, “Mr Akpabio alleged that I was awarded contracts for 53 NDDC projects.
“I wish to state unequivocally that this allegation has no bearing with the truth and challenge Mr Akpabio to send the so-called list to anti-graft and other security agencies if he can substantiate the apparently baseless allegation.
“Indeed, I would have made further comments but for the fact that the matter is currently before two competent courts of law.
“However, suffice to say that this unsubstantiated allegation is in line with Mr Akpabio’s well known agenda to continuously blackmail me so as to keep diverting public attention away from the serious mismanagement of the NDDC by the Interim Management Committee under his supervision and under the guise of a phantom forensic audit that has no operating timeline.
“My advice to Mr Akpabio and the IMC is to focus their energy on explaining to Nigerians how they spent a whopping N81.5bn within a period of five months.”
In the same vein, a former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator James Manager, said he was not a beneficiary of contracts awarded by the NDDC in 2018.
Manager, in a statement he signed on Monday, said he had never solicited contracts from any government agency before and after becoming a public figure.
He said, “My tenure as Chairman of Niger Delta Committee in the Senate effectively ended in 2015.
“Ever since then, I have never visited the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt or any of its branches.
“The NDDC never awarded any contract to any company owned by me.
“I do not know of any company owned by me that has ever gone into bidding for government jobs anywhere in the world. This may come to many as a surprise but this is the gospel truth.
“Those who are alleging to defame me must be aware of the consequences.”
He challenged Akpabio and the Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, to provide detailed description of the said contracts.
He also demanded the names of companies, payments already made, to whom it was made and the job performance.