Peter Nwaoboshi, chairman, senate committee on Niger Delta, says the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is indicting itself to exonerate Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs.
Nwaoboshi said this in reaction to a statement credited to the commission, in which the NDDC had accused the senator of using 11 companies as fronts to get a N3.6 billion contract in September 2016.
The commission’s claim came a few days after Nwaoboshi alleged that Akpabio secured a N300 million fencing contract which was inserted into its budget.
In a statement on Monday, Luka Igbonoba, media aide to the senator, quoted his principal as saying that he did not have anything to do with the 11 companies ascribed to him.
“These are companies that he does not know nor had anything to do with. A simple search at the Corporate Affairs Commission will, at least, show both former and present directors,” he said.
“How do you libelously 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.
“The commission keeps indicting itself in the desperate attempt to exonerate Akpabio. The inconsistency in lies dished out by the interim management committee of NDDC against Senator Peter 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 1000 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.”
The allegations and counter-allegations against Akpabio, Nwaoboshi and the commission began after the senate passed a resolution to probe an alleged diversion of N40 billion by the interim management committee (IMC) of the NDDC.
In turn, the commission accused the members of the national assembly of inserting over 500 non-existent projects into its 2019 budget.
The IMC is expected to undertake a forensic audit of the commission’s finances from 2001 to 2019.
President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the audit in October 2019.