August 14, 2020

Now that Akpabio fulfills pledge, gives out names of lawmakers on NDDC contracts’ list, what is next



That Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, has fulfilled his pledge to give out names of those lawmakers who had allegedly benefited from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts may no longer be fresh news, but the hot news now is, what is the next step after the naming?


Apparently pushed to the wall by threats to be sued for alleged perjury and defamation of the parliament, Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, succumbed to pressure and gave out names of alleged lawmakers that joined in wrecking the planned development of Niger Delta Region by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Now that the Barrister, a former Senator and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State has given out names of those lawmakers that allegedly joined in spending and mismanagement of funds allocated for the planned development of Niger Delta, what is next step?


In the list are Akpabio the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta-North), with 53 projects. Senator Matthew Urhoghide (Edo-South), six projects. James Manager (Delta-South), six projects.


The Nwaoboshi 53 projects allegedly 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. Others are Samuel Anyanwu (Imo-West, 8th Senate), 19; and others simply identified as Ondo and Edo Reps.


Akpabio, however, did not state if the lawmakers were directly awarded the contracts or they nominated the projects under their Zonal Intervention Projects, also known as constituency projects.


The former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC, Mr Nicholas Mutu, who represents the Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency of Delta State, is among those linked by the minister with contracts.


The minister listed Mutu’s name against 74 projects, including various emergency road projects in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers states.


It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on February 3, 2020, arraigned Mutu before Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged abuse of office and fraud involving about N320 million.


Other lawmakers that Akpabio listed projects against are Senator Matthew Urhoghide (Edo-South), six; James Manager (Delta-South), six; Samuel Anyanwu (Imo-West, 8th Senate), 19; and others simply identified as Ondo and Edo Reps.


The minister, however, did not provide the cost of the projects listed against the lawmakers’ names, while the value of contracts given to non-lawmakers had costs of various projects attached to them.


But report by PUNCH observed that contracts listed against the names of the lawmakers were not up to 60 per cent of the 266 on the list provided by Akpabio.


In the letter which he copied the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), he also gave out names of non-National Assembly members are also on the list.


The House had on Thursday resolved to sue Akpabio for alleged perjury and defamation of the parliament.


Akpabio had on Monday, while appearing before the House Committee on the NDDC during an investigative hearing on the alleged illegal spending and mismanagement of funds, claimed that the commission awarded members of the National Assembly 60 per cent of contracts.

From Punch Newspaper