The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has insisted that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has not paid any money to the contractors who built the roads he facilitated.
Kalu was reacting to a letter written by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, where he reportedly mentioned ex-Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan, James Ibori, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, as those who benefited from the NDDC contracts.
In a statement signed by Barrister Emeka Nwala, Kalu made it clear that the issues at stake in the NDDC has nothing to do with projects carried out, but missing funds.
According to him, the road projects Akpabio listed were the interventions he facilitated for the communities as a private citizen even before he became a lawmaker.
Kalu claimed his name was included, because he used his letter headed paper to write to the NDDC in 2016, pleading with the agency to repair roads in Abia.
“Between 2016 and 2018, during my tour to several communities, leaders and welfare unions pleaded for urgent intervention on some dilapidated roads. I wrote to the NDDC informing the body of the conditions of these roads and the need for their attention since Abia is an NDDC state.
“The NDDC in their consideration which I am very grateful to, awarded the roads to companies that duly tendered for the projects and not myself. Whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention,” part of the statement read.
Kalu added that, “The contractors have completed and delivered these roads a long time ago, except Abam-Atani road which I learnt from the contractors was slowed down due to rain, but still ongoing.”
In another development, the immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has denied the allegation by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, accusing him (Uduaghan) of collecting N429million road contract from the Niger Delta Development Commission.
While maintaining that the allegation is false, Uduaghan also described the report as “laughable and untrue in its entirety”.
Akpabio, in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had linked Uduaghan and Chief James Ibori, also a former governor of Delta, among others with some contracts awarded by NDDC.
The Minister was quoted as saying that Uduaghan, now a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was linked to the emergency repairs of Close B, Alhaji Estate & Environs, Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt at a cost of N429million.
But Udugahan, in a swift reaction debunked the allegation, stressing that he “had never approached the NDDC for any contract whatsoever”.
Uduaghan, in a statement signed by his Media Assistant, Monoyo Edon, copies of which were made available to journalists in Warri on Monday said he had already reached out to Akpabio, his former governor colleague, “to immediately correct the report” as he had never been awarded contracts by the interventionist agency.
Uduaghan, therefore, advised the public to disregard the “mischievous publication”.
The statement read in part, “We want to state very clearly that the said accusation is FALSE. Dr. Uduaghan has never approached the NDDC for any contract whatsoever. It is even more ridiculous that the said contract is a road inside Port Harcourt town.
“Dr. Uduaghan has drawn the attention of the Hon. Minister of the Niger Delta, Sen Godswill Akpabio to the publication and hopes he makes a correction.”