By Deji Elumoye
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, has washed his hands off the 11 companies allegedly linked to him for winning of contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in 2016.
He has, therefore, refuted the claims that he collected contracts from the NDDC with 11 different companies without executing them.
The NDDC had, in a statement on Sunday by its spokesperson, Charles Odili, alleged that Senator Nwaoboshi used 11 different companies as fronts to secure for himself N3.6 billion worth of contract in September, 2016 and that the contract was the “biggest single case of looting of the Commission’s resources”.
Nwaoboshi, in a swift reaction on Monday evening in Abuja, said the allegations were nothing but national embarrassment that must stop.
The lawmaker, in a statement, said none of the 11 companies listed belong to him as far as records at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are concerned.
He challenged the NDDC officials to substantiate their allegations with required documents implicating him.
“The smear campaign and character assassination of people perceived to be stumbling blocks against the rot in NDDC over the years must stop in the national interest,” he added.
The statement signed by Nwaoboshi’s Special Assistant on Legislative and Media Affairs, Luka Igbonoba, read: “The charade in the past weeks by the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission to blackmail a routine task of the National Assembly to perform its oversight function as stated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has no doubt become a national embarrassment.
“More so is the uncharitable and condemnable low of smear campaigns against members of the institution, churning out blatant lies that are easily verifiable. The latest, been a press release signed by a supposed civil servant, on allegations that are completely false and unfounded.
“They listed 11 companies and ascribed ownership to Senator Peter Nwaboshi. These are companies that he does not know nor had anything to do with. A simple search at Corporate Affairs Commission will, at least, show both former and present directors. How do you libellously claim a man owns companies that perhaps belong to other people?
“Apparently, the officials might have generated names of companies they have probably used to siphon the peoples common patrimony, everyone involved must face the wrath of the law as it is expected that due diligence should precede any contract award. In any case, if the contracts were actually awarded in 2016 as alleged, the forensic audit, which covers the period, is expected to expose every detail surrounding these contracts and save the public from this shameless falsehood.
‘We strongly challenge NNDC to avail the public of the names of directors and shareholders of all the companies.
“For the umpteenth time, Senator Nwaoboshi once again declares that he is neither a director nor shareholder in any of the companies listed by NDDC.
“Senator Nwaboshi, once again, stands on and reaffirms all he said in his last press conference as it concerns the Niger Delta Affairs Minister. He made it very clear and evidentially backed it up by presenting a memo written to him by Akpabio in 2017, requesting the inclusion of projects in the 2017 NDDC budget amounting to the tune of 500 million naira.
“The fact of this request is incontrovertibly true as contained in the said memo which is in the public domain. No amount of brazen denial can subvert the documented evidence. The commission keeps indicting itself in the desperate attempt to exonerate Akpabio.”
According to Nwaoboshi’s aide, the claim that some school desks and chairs purportedly produced for NDDC were diverted and supplied to the Delta State Government by him is a white lie from the pit of hell.
“The inconsistency in lies dished out by the Interim Management Committee of NDDC against Senator Nwaoboshi easily exposes the laughable attempt to smear an innocent man. First they alleged he was receiving N1 billion monthly as consultancy fee. Same NDDC admitted that the allegation is false.
“They later turned around to allege that he received 1,000 contracts. When that again fell like every other, the narrative changed to 350 contracts. All of a sudden, it has all collapsed to 11 contracts. Soon, the number shall obviously come to zero. That is the way of lies; they crumble like a pack of cards,” he further said.