The Niger Delta Development Commission has said the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, stands by the list of contractors he released, which contained the names of some lawmakers and ex-governors as NDDC contractors.
The commission said the names emanated from files in the possession of its forensic auditors, adding that it was part of the volume of 8,000 documents handed over to the audit team.
Akpabio had, during an investigative hearing by the House of Representatives last month, claimed that some lawmakers were beneficiaries of the NDDC projects.
He subsequently released a list of contractors, which included the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Peter Nwabaoshi, whose name was listed against 53 projects.
He also said Senator Matthew Urhoghide and Senator James Manager got six projects each, while a former senator, Samuel Anyanwu, got 19 projects.
The former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC, Nicholas Mutu, was also named by the minister as receiving 74 contracts, as well as a former Delta State governor, James Ibori, and ex-Abia State governor, Orji Kalu.
All the men have denied the allegations, but the NDDC Director of Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said, “The Interim Management Committee of the commission stands by the list, which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors.
“It is not an Akpabio’s list but the NDDC’s list. The list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors.
“Prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta, whose names were on the list, should not panic as the commission knew that people used the names of prominent persons in the region to secure contracts, and the ongoing forensic audit would unearth those behind the contracts.”
In the statement titled, ‘NDDC Invites President Buhari to Commission Signature Project’, the commission justified the release of the contractors’ names, noting that the “intention of the list was to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly, who used fronts to collect contracts from the commission, some of which were never executed.”
Meanwhile, the NDDC said it was inviting the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to inaugurate the 29-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State.
It said the project, which cuts across 14 communities, costs N24bn and was built in conjunction with the Shell Petroleum Development Company to create a land link between Yenagoa and Nembe for the first time.
Odili said, “The road has cut the journey time to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, from three hours to one and a half hours. This project is not only a flagship of intervention in the Niger Delta but it is also a model of the development partnership between the commission and international oil companies in the region.”