Godswill Akpabio, the minister of Niger Delta has named former governors of Delta State James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan, former Governor of Abia State Orji Uzor Kalu and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as beneficiaries of the corruption at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
During a House committee hearing on July 20, 2020, Akpabio had disclosed that lawmakers are the biggest beneficiaries of the corruption that has become the story of the NDDC.
In a document attached to his response to the ultimatum by the House of Representatives, Akpabio listed senators who received 74 contracts from the commission between 2017 to date.
That document, as it turns out, also contained the names of former governors from the country’s oil-rich delta region.
The letter which was made available to journalists on Monday, August 3, 2020, also copied to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation/Minister of Justice, was addressed to the Clerk to the House, Patrick Giwa, with Reference Number MNDA/HM/04/IV/158.
It was titled, ‘Some Niger Delta Development Commission Contracts Allegedly Given to Some Members of the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives).’
The emergency repairs projects linked to them, according to the document obtained by journalists, were awarded in 2018 at a cost ranging from N400 million and N560 million each.
One of the projects linked to Ibori was the emergency repairs of Onoghove community road from Ajanesan to Western Delta University at the cost of N485.7 million.
Uduaghan was linked to the emergency repairs of Close B, Alhaji Estate & Environs, Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt at the cost of N429 million.
Five projects were linked to Senate Chief Whip Kalu, who was identified in the document as OUK-Kalu.
The emergency repairs on road projects linked to Kalu are in Abia State, and the costs ranged from N517 million to N560 million.
The details are: emergency repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road (N517.9 million) and repairs of Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road, Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze (N560 million).
Others linked to Kalu are Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road (N523.7 million), Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende road (508 million), and the Ozu-Amuru-Abam Road at the cost of N523.4 million.
The cost of the 12 projects linked to Senator Ararume, which are located in Imo and Rivers States, were not listed in the documents.
Some of the projects linked to Ararume include emergency repairs of Umuelemai-Aba branch road, Anara-Okwelle-Umuna Road, Okpara-Road junction-Ogili Community; all in Imo State.
‘Abuse of trust’
After serving half of his sentence in pre-and post-trial detention, Ibori was released from jail in December 2016 and is now back in Nigeria, dictating who governs his state and senatorial district at every election cycle.
Uduaghan, an Ibori political benefactor and ally, was Delta governor from 2007 to 2015.
Kalu, who governed Abia State from 1999 to 2007, was recently found guilty and jailed by a federal high court for diverting N7.65 billion from the state’s treasury during his stint in office.
The Supreme Court overturned Kalu’s conviction, citing technicality discrepancies.
The NDDC which was established in 2000 to bridge the developmental and infrastructure gap in an oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta region, has been mired in corruption and allegations of endemic graft.
Trillions of Naira have found their way to the coffers of the NDDC since it was set up, with very little to show on the ground.
Source: Daily Post