. As NDDC’s Acting Executive Director of Projects, Ojougboh says a sitting Nigerian senator is handling 300 of the commission’s project.
“NDDC is now a political institution. NDDC stole our money. There was an agreement for the Rivers State Government and NDDC to collaborate for the construction of the Mother and Child Hospital. NDDC refused to pay her counterpart fund. Even the N800million paid by the Rivers State Government, the NDDC only paid N400m to the contractor and diverted N400million.
“If they don’t pay our money, we will Institute a legal action against NDDC to retrieve our money,” he said.
He said the immediate past Board of the NDDC expended N10billion during the 2019 Election to stop him from getting a second term, but they failed.
“After the former Board released N10billion to remove me from office and they failed, they came here for a Courtesy Visit. I asked them why they refused to partner with states for the development of the Niger Delta”, he said.
“Niger Delta Governors asked for the forensic audit of the NDDC when we met with the President. We also asked for the setting up of the Board of Governors for NDDC.
“I urge the interim committee to carry out a proper audit. You will meet obstacles, but be determined to do a thorough job,” he said.
He urged the people of the Niger Delta to work in unity to develop the geo-political zone.
While congratulating the Acting Managing Director of NDDC and members of the interim committee, Wike said he never be party to any plot to remove a Rivers person from a position of responsibility.
Earlier, the Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Gbene Joi Nunieh, said that the Commission is determined to partner with Niger Delta Governors for the development of the region.
She urged the Rivers Governor to forget the past failures of NDDC and partner with the commission.
On his part, Ojougboh, who did not name the senator at issue, said 120 of the contracts have been fully paid for, saying that the contracts are being investigated.
Speaking during a press briefing in Abuja, he said the commission is owing N3 trillion in contract sum and that the ongoing forensic audit would help uncover how the debt was accrued.
The federal government had inaugurated a three-man committee to oversee the operations of the NDDC.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the commission from 2001 to 2019.
The president said the directive became imperative in view of the persistent criticisms of the operations of the commission.
Ojougboh accused the unnamed senator of sabotaging the efforts of the interim committee.
“Somebody who is particularly interested in a major contract of the NDDC, who is a member of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he alone has 300 jobs in the NDDC. Of the 300 contracts, 120 has been fully paid and he has not mobilised to site for these 120,” Ojougboh said.
“It is obvious that the reason he is behaving the way he is behaving is that he wants the system, the looting in the NDDC to continue, and this is what the Interim Management Committee will not support. It is as simple as that.
“The NDDC Interim Payment Certificates that are pending are worth over N3 trillion. That is what the NDDC owes these phantom contractors. It is these phantom contractors that are preaching and making noise to stop the probe. All they want is for the stealing to continue.
“Therefore, when given the opportunity that we have just been given, our job is to make sure that we avail the auditors all the necessary documents and information, all the necessary help they need because we are not protecting any interest but to help the auditors do their job as it is required.”
He said the commission is owing some of its workers 15 years salary arrears.
“All they want is to bring puppets to manage the forensic audit because they know that the members of the IMC will not compromise. If you look at the records at the NDDC, you will cry,” he said.
“Some genuine people that have done jobs for the board have not been paid for over 15 years and their families are suffering. Many of those who were paid are these phantom contractors.
“I appeal to Nigerians to support the position of Mr President, to support the IMC, to support the people of the Niger Delta and the forensic audit.”