…Says outcome of forensic audit will shock Nigerians
By Chris Ochayi
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, weekend said the previous administration at the Niger Delta Development, NDDC, awarded N6 billion contracts for fingerlings without any designated fish ponds to deliver the services.
Senator Akpabio, who made the disclosure in Abuja, while playing host to a delegation of members of Petrol Station Owners Association, PESOA, Rivers State chapter, said this explained the unprecedented rots that characterized the previous management of the commission.
Akpabio, who concluded that there was no going back on the current forensic audit of activities of the commission, however, added that the outcome of the exercise would shock Nigerians to their bone marrow.
The immediate past Governor of Akwa Ibom State, while reiterating the determination to reposition the commission for effective mandate delivery vowed to reverse all the clogs that worked against the progress of the commission in the past.
He insisted that if you are from Niger Delta region, you must be forced to ask certain questions, adding, “I was in this office when a young man walked in and asked me, Sir, what do I do?
“I was given a contract to supply fingerlings for N6 billion and I have N3 billion still in my account. I asked by whom, he said NDDC, I said when? And he said a few years ago but with this probe coming I don’t know what to do.
“My health is not good and I don’t want stress. Sir, can I return N3 billion out of the N6 billion? I said didn’t you supply, he said they didn’t give him where to supply to.
“Fingerlings is something that you supply to fish ponds, Am I right? Now N6 billion worth of fingerlings of fish ponds in Niger Delta and yet they didn’t have the fish pond but they wrote there are across 27 senatorial district.
“I think they like giving out contracts without doing the job. I keep telling people I am not just waking up. As a governor, I know there was something wrong with NDDC but I couldn’t pinpoint it, I could see the symptoms.
“So when I became a Minister of Niger Delta that’s when I found that the symptoms of failure that I used to see here all about corruption. It was like an ATM for people to make money to go and contest elections.
“Whether I am here or not I believe we should change the story and the story can only change when we tell the truth. But a lot of people are not ready to tell the truth. “
The immediate past Senate Minority Leader stressed further that, “But one thing that I found out is that Niger Deltans hardly have a hand in the sharing of the contracts. When the National Assembly passes the project, they pass it innocently on what I call nine items, health 50 billion, education maybe or 40 just like that… so the details has to be worked out between the management of NDDC and the committees of the two houses.
“But these details were never worked to include the committees and the management of NDDC the details were rather handled by two Chairmen, Chairman of the house committee and chairman of the Senate Committee.
“That’s was what I was trying to explain to them but I wasn’t given the opportunity to. All I was trying to explain to them is that don’t hand over the fate of Niger Delta to only two people. They never allow others to have input.
“Even the governors of the region never had inputted in the development of the NDDC. I was a governor; I had to take over the construction of Ibono road with four bridges. I took it over from NDDC that had been on that road for 11 years with a lot of variations.
“So I took over the road gave it to CCC construction company, approach Mobil, Mobil came in, the road was going to cost about 34 billion. They made the contribution of about 8 billion and the government sponsored the rest and now we have the road.”