By Deji Elumoye
The last appears not to have been heard on the controversy surrounding the award of contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, being accused of influencing the award of N500 million contracts in the agency in 2017.
Chairman of the Senate committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, in vital documents made available to newsmen alleged that in 2017 alone, Akpabio collected contracts worth N500million from NDDC without execution.
According to him, “in a letter dated August 7, 2017, addressed to the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Akpabio requested that five projects worth 500 million Naira be added to the budget.
“Akpabio as Minority Leader of the Senate then, used his office to include projects not budgeted for in the Appropriation bill”.
The projects as clearly stated in the letter, include, fencing of the Federal Polytechnic Ukana, Akwa Ibom North West Senitorial District at the cost of 200 million Naira.
Fencing of Federal Government College, Ikot Ekpene (Old site) Akwa North West Senatorial District.
Entrepreneurship training on the use of modern farming implement- Youths in Akwa Ibom North West Senitorial District at the cost of N75 million.
Entrepreneurship training on the use of modern farming implement- Women in Akwa Ibom North West Senitorial District at the cost of N75 million.
Renovation of one hostel facility at University of Nsukka, Nsukka Campus at the cost of N50 million.
“Findings show that while there was no physical evidence of implementation of these projects, checks show contracts were awarded and fully paid for.
“Such practices have turned the region to sites of abandoned projects”, Nwaoboshi lamented.
The documents further alleged that similar contracts collections without execution were carried out on NDDC by Akpabio in 2016 and in 2018.
Efforts to reach Akpabio for his response to the Senate Committee chair’s claim were unsuccessful.