The senate committee on Niger Delta affairs says no amount of intimidation or
blackmail will stop it from probing the interim management committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The committee said this in response to an allegation made by Kemebradikumo Pondei, acting managing director of the commission.
Pondei accused the lawmakers of inserting over 500 non-existent projects in the commission’s budget.
Before then, the national assembly accused the interim committee of mismanaging over N40 billion and passed resolutions that it would investigate.
But speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Peter Nwaoboshi, chairman of the committee, said Pondei’s allegations are nothing but “mere fabrications.”
“We are responding to the allegations of the IMC to correct the misrepresentation. If they claim that some 1000 jobs were given to any Senator, we challenge the IMC members to compile the list of these contracts and publish them,” Nwaoboshi said.
“Also, the EFCC, police or ICPC should be reached to investigate those claims instead of blackmailing anybody.
“If members of the IMC know that their hands are clean, they don’t need to panic or resort to blackmail which would not in any way deter the already mandated investigative committees of the national assembly from carrying out their legitimate assignments.
“IMC must be ready to submit itself for thorough investigation by committees already assigned for that by both chambers of the national assembly.
“The allegations of balkanisation of budget just came because the IMC members were asked to appear before the ad hoc committee to answer questions.
“The national assembly has the right to appropriate and carry out oversight functions on the Niger Delta ministry, and the NDDC. So, no amount of intimidation or blackmail will stop us.”
The senator added that he had deleted the phone number of Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs, over allegations that he is allegedly fuelling the crisis between NDDC and the national assembly.
‘COUNT ME OUT’
In a related development, Nelson Agbamuche, a contractor, has asked Cairo Ojougboh, NDDC’s acting director of projects, to leave him out of his accusations.
Like Pondei, Ojougboh has also reportedly levelled corruption allegations against contractors and members of the national assembly.
The contractor said the acting director alleged that he was given 1,000 projects on behalf of some people.
“He alleged I was given 1,000 projects on behalf of some people,” Agbamuche said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This is ridiculous! Since 2012 that I started bidding for jobs in NDDC, we have NOT even won up to 50 or 100 jobs. Is he not having access to files in the office?
“Can Nigerians please help me announce to all of them to leave me out of their battle. I do not have anything to do with any of those allegations; they are baseless and very fallacious.”
In October 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic probe of the commission’s activities from 2001 to 2019.
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