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Olufemi Atoyebi, Kamarudeen Ogundele and Sola Shittu
The Interim Executive Director of Project, Niger Delta Development Commission, Cairo Ojougboh, has raised the alarm over allegation of about N3tn phantom contract in the commission.
He also alleged that an unnamed serving senator involved in the screening of the NDDC board was behind 300 contract jobs with the commission.
According to him, 120 of the contracts have been fully paid for by the commission without the senator mobilising workforce to sites.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the former member of the House of Representatives said 10 audit firms had been engaged to audit the financial records of the NDDC.
Ojougboh said, “The NDDC is owing over N3tn to phantom contractors. It is these contractors that are making this noise because they know the interim management will not compromise.
“The genuine contractors have not been paid while phantom contractors have been paid. Some of the contracts have been terminated but the contractors failed to return money.”
Meanwhile, a Niger Delta group, Niger Delta People Confederation, on Sunday, rejected the interim committee set up by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
The NDPC in a statement jointly signed its Coordinator General and the Secretary-General, Mr Iyamu Osaro Culture and Mr Ovie Kenneth, respectively, faulted the composition of the three-man committee and demanded their immediate sacking by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group also called for the disbandment of the forensic audit report of the committee, alleging that it was self-serving and skewed to suit Akpabio’s interest and not Nigerians.
But Akpabio said the call for his removal would not deter him from his determination to ensure that those who did not deliver the projects paid for by the commission were made to account for the money they got.
A statement by the Head, Press and Public Relations at the ministry, Patricia Deworitshe, said the minister stated this during a visit by the Akwa-Cross ex-agitators to his office in Abuja on Friday.
According to the statement from Deworitshe, Akpabio said so much money had been given to the NDDC over the years but nothing commensurate was on the ground.
The statement read, “The minister promised to reposition the Niger Delta Development Commission by making life better for the people of the region, vowing that he would not be deterred by the campaign of calumny by some faceless individuals who have benefitted over the years from commission.”