Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has finally picked up the gauntlet thrown down by the National Assembly to name lawmakers who got contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The minister, in a document attached to his response to the threat by the House of Representatives to sue him over the allegations that federal lawmakers were the major contractors of NDDC, listed four senators as receiving 74 contracts from the commission between 2017 to date.
He also accused the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, of inserting 19 contracts worth N9 billion into 2019 NDDC budget.
House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, had last week given Akpabio a 48-hour ultimatum to identify lawmakers that are NDDC contractors as he alleged during his testimony before the House Committee on NDDC.
However, a few hours after the expiration of the ultimatum, Gbajabiamila had signified the House’s readiness to head to court to seek the prosecution of the minister for criminal defamation.
He was to later read a letter from Akpabio, in response to the one written to him by the House Clerk, in which the minister reportedly denied making the allegations.
However, it was learnt at the weekend that Akpabio’s annexure to the letter included a list detailing the names and NDDC jobs given to the lawmakers.
According to the list, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, allegedly executed 53 NDDC projects from 2017 to date.
He also accused three other senators namely: Matthew Urhoghide, James Manager and Sam Anyanwu of executing a total of 21 NDDC contracts during the period under review.
But in a swift reaction, Nwaoboshi described Akpabio as a confused individual.
He told THISDAY yesterday that he is challenging Akpabio to publish the names of the directors and shareholders of the companies that executed the said 53 NDDC contracts.
“He (Akpabio) is confused. I challenge him to publish the directors and shareholders of these companies. I don’t award contract and I don’t pay for contracts. My brother, go to CAC and find out the truth. I pity him,” Nwaoboshi said.
But in the bulky document with a three-page covering letter entitled: “Some Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Contracts Allegedly Given to some Members of the National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives,” Akpabio also fingered the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC in 19 contracts worth N9 billion inserted into the 2019 NDDC budget.