NDDC reveals another list of contracts not included in Akpabio’s revelation
…says list to expose NASS committee chairmen who used fronts to collect contracts …ongoing forensic audit will unearth those behind the contracts
Nigerians waiting to see the list where one member of the National Assembly collected about 250 contracts and was even paid for most of them ahead have been told that another long list exists. The list the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, submitted to the National Assembly is said to be the 2018 update compiled by the Niger Delta Development Commission in that year.
The list is, however, said to be part of the over 8,000 documents sent to the forensic auditors who would not only establish existence of the contracts but the real owners of the contracts no matter who was using other fronts.
This indication emerged on Monday when the NDDC went to Abuja to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to come commission the much-awaited N24Bn Ogbia-Nembe Road project executed in partnership with Shell.
Confirming the existence of another list, the Corporate Affairs Director, Charles Odili, said the one submitted by Akpabio was not compiled by the minister but it came from the files in the Commission.
The NDDC spokesperson said the list submitted to the National Assembly was actually compiled by the then management of the Commission in 2018. He observed that there was another set of lists for emergency project contracts awarded in 2017 and 2019 but these were not submitted to the National Assembly.
“The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Commission stands by the list, which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors. It is not an Akpabio list but the NDDC’s list. The list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors,” Odili stated.
The director also said that 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, adding that the ongoing forensic audit would unearth those behind the contracts.
The spokesperson said 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.
Odili added that the list did not include the unique case of 250 contracts which were signed for and collected in one day by one person ostensibly for members of the National Assembly.
On the forensic audit exercise, he said that it was on course and the Commission had positioned 185 media support specialists to identify the sites of every project captured in its books for verification by the forensic auditors.
Odili advised members of the public to discountenance the “avalanche of falsehood being orchestrated by mischief makers,” regretting that “more insinuations and accusations may be thrown into the public space by those opposed to the IMC.”
Meanwhile, the NDDC has invited President Buhari to commission the 29-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State. The road creates a land link to the ancient city of Nembe for the first time.
Odili disclosed this in Abuja after delivering the NDDC management’s invitation to Mr President through the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
Odili noted that the road project, which costs N24 billion, cutting through swampy terrain with spurs to 14 other communities, needed 10 bridges and 99 culverts.
“To conquer the swampy terrain, the construction involved digging out four metres of clay soil and sand filling it to provide a base for the road,” he observed.
Significantly, he said, “the road has cut the journey time to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, from three hours to one and a half hours.”
Odili said the joy of the communities served by the road was unspeakable, noting: “This project is a not only a flag ship of intervention in the Niger Delta, it is also a model of development partnership between the Commission and international oil companies in the region.”
Odili also disclosed that scholars of the Commission who are facing hardships abroad because of the non-remittance of their fees and stipends would be paid by the end of the week, following the order of President Buhari.
He said the delay in the remittance of the fees was caused by the sudden death of Ibanga Etang, the then Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration (EDFA) of the Commission in May, 2020.
Odili stated: “Under the Commission’s finance protocol, only the Executive Director (Finance) and the Executive Director (Projects) can sign for the release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
“With the death of Chief Etang, the remittance has to await the appointment of a new EDFA.”