It is no longer news that since the appointment of Senator Godswill Akpabio as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, the Ministry as well as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which is under its purview has been plagued with woes of unprecedented degrees of looting, fraudulent awards of contracts to unqualified companies amongst others resulting in the impoverishment of the Niger Delta region.
A petition against NDDC seen by SecretReporters showed that the Minister through the erstwhile Managing Director allegedly infused various fraudulent expenditures into the NDDC budget including awards of contracts to companies to the tune of over N8,000,000,000 (Eight Billion Naira).
Findings showed that on 31st December 2019, the former Managing Director allegedly approved the payment of N2,107,544,513 (Two Billion One Hundred and Seven Million Five Hundred and Forty-Four Thousand Five Hundred and Thirteen Naira) to Rodnab Construction Ltd for the completion of NDDC’s Headquarters; a company where the Minister allegedly has vested interests. It was gathered that the company’s First Bank Plc account number 1140097341 where the money was paid into, acts as a conduit to move the money from the Commission’s treasury
Perhaps recovering the funds expended during his Senatorial campaign which he eventually lost, it was revealed that the Akwa Ibom born Minister awarded another contract for the repair of sections of Rumukwachi Street to the waterside, off Rumukparali to Franez Nigeria Ltd at the sum of a jaw-dropping N623,053,818 (Six Hundred and Twenty Three Million Fifty-three Thousand Eight hundred and Eighteen Naira); which was also a decoy to move funds from Commission’s coffers as there was no bidding allegedly done.
Determined to milk the Commission dry of every penny it is worth, findings also showed that N655,471,044 (Six Hundred and Fifty-Five Million Four Hundred and Seventy-One Thousand Forty-Four) was approved to be paid to Simoka Marine Ltd for the repair of sections Olile and Itte Street and environs in Ezionum Ukwuani and another N607,445,026 (Six Hundred and Seven Million Four Hundred and Forty-Five Thousand Twenty-Six Naira) was awarded to Attanu Construction Limited for the repair of Okroma and Boma Crescent Andoni.
Fully aware that it is easier to steal with the pen than with the gun, the duo allegedly facilitated another award of contract for the repair of Farm Road Alesa, Eleme Local Government Area of N607,114,818 (Six Hundred and Seven Million One Hundred and Fourteen Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighteen Naira) to Rill Oil Services Ltd; also controlled by the crooked Ministry.
Shockingly, an investigation showed that all five companies above awarded these contracts amongst others which gulped an earth-quaking sum of over 8,000,000,000 (Eight Billion Naira) injected and implemented by NDDC when the 2020 budget was signed into law, are owned and managed by the same persons who are alleged to be puppets in the hands of the Minister.
There are feelers that the Interim Management Committee (IMC) may not be privy to the maladministration of the Niger Delta Minister who ought to have been christened as an ‘Uncommon Trans-looter’ as these monumental frauds vis-à-vis fraudulent awards of contracts were carried out seamlessly even though an audit and verification of contractors by the Committee was ongoing.