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How Lokpobiri pressured me to raise NCDMB budget by N30bn – Wabote

How Lokpobiri pressured me to raise NCDMB budget by N30bn – Wabote

Heineken Lokpobiri, minister of state for petroleum resources and Simbi Wabote, former executive secretary, of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), have traded allegations of over $500 million in investments and loans.

In his earlier comments, Wabote noted that “My problem as Executive Secretary started with Lokpobiri in December 2023 when he sent one of his undocumented aides within his ministry to my office in Yenagoa (Blackson) requesting me to increase the NCDMB budget by N30 billion for the office of the minister and I said it had never been done before.

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“I served two ministers and none of them has ever made such a request to NCDMB; that we only make provision for the office of the chairman of the council, which covers his travel expenses.”

Reacting, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources dismissed as lies the claims that his office requested for increase on NCDMB budget by N30 billion for the office of the minister.

In a statement signed by Nneamaka Okafor, special adviser, media and communication, minister of state for petroleum resources(Oil), the minister noted: “Our position is that he who alleges must prove same. So, if Wabote has proof of such conversation, he is challenged to provide same.

“Second, the minister has no aide called Blackson. All his aides were duly selected in line with extant laws and have documents to that effect.

“The minister in his capacity as chairman of the Governing Council stands by his statement at The Petroleum Club’s quarterly event in Lagos, and as journalists, I welcome you to visit the places mentioned to verify the allegations for yourself.

“Third, the said Atlantic Refinery was supposed to be built in Mr Wabote’s home town, he should show Nigerians where that refinery is.

“Fourth, the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical company was also paid for, you are welcomed to also visit the site to verify the facts for yourself.

‘’Let me add that these revelations are not new, they were first made during an investigative hearing of the House of representative committee on local content. Again the records are there and you are welcome to verify these facts.

‘’The Minister has never been part of any budgeting process of any parastatal under the Ministry; you are welcomed to visit these agencies to verify for yourself.

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‘’Finally, the minister’s office is run with a budget superintended by the permanent secretary and so one will wonder, how the Minister will ask another entity to make provisions for the budget of his Office. The Minister has an impeccable record from his time as Minister of Agric and will continue to stand for the truth.”

“The Minister and Indeed the Chairman of the Governing Council of the NCDMB will not abdicate his responsibility to please anyone. He has a responsibility to ensure that, that which belongs to Nigerians is judiciously used for Nigerians.