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‘Anti-graft agencies to name senator behind NDDC’s 300 phantom contracts soon’

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Ex-militants fault calls to sack Akpabio, CSO opposes forensic audit
The Acting Executive Director (Projects) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, has said the name of the senator allegedly involved in the agency’s 300 phantom contracts had been forwarded to anti-corruption agencies for action.

The response followed the challenge by the representative of Delta South in the Senate, James Manager, urging him to substantiate the widely reported allegation.

Ojougboh had last week alleged that a lawmaker in the upper chamber’s Committee on NDDC had 300 jobs for which payments were made without any forms of execution and existence.

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In a statement, the NDDC official said: “The commission has forwarded the matter to the anti-corruption agencies and the particular senator will be invited and the public will know the person soon”.

He added: “The Interim Management Committee (IMC) will continue to carry out inspection and verification of abandoned and ongoing NDDC projects in the region and also ensure an enabling environment for the forensic audit to take place. The particular senator would soon be invited by the anti-corruption agencies for questioning.”

Senator Manager, had in an online report credited to him, challenged Cairo Ojougboh to name the legislator under probe, saying: “I am currently out of the country on an official trip. I have been inundated with several communications about what Dr. Cairo Ojougboh said about NDDC and a Delta senator on award of contracts.

“I have always known Dr. Cairo (Ojougboh) to be a bold, fearless, courageous and tall man. On this matter, he appears to be a disastrous disappointment on his failure to name the particular senator from Delta that is involved. Instead, his outburst has given job to pull him down heavy weight politicians and their ever-ready hangouts to make stupendous insinuations and innuendos.”

However, the Akwa Ibom State Ex-Militants Phase 2 Forum of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme yesterday faulted the calls for the disengagement of Senator Godswill Akpabio as minister.

In a statement by Comrade Imoh Okoko in Abuja, the group described the development as a by-product of ethnic sentiments against Akwa Ibom people.

Besides, the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC) has picked holes in the ordered forensic audit of the NDDDC, stating that the process was fraught with “unnecessary suspicious speed.”

Its chairman, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, said the approach being adopted by Akpabio “does not meet international best practices on matters of this critical nature.”

The civil society organisation maintained: “It is not democratic, open, participatory and accountable. Not people-centred. It smacks of a continuation of patronage system rather than its abatement. Absence of an effective integrity test. It is authoritarian in character. It threatens constitutionalism fundamentally.”


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