*Claims NNDC has over N3trn financial commitment
*The IMC save N50bn already from their bogus contracts
By Ralph Izopi
The Executive-Director at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC), Dr. Cairo Ojuogbuo yesterday exonerated the Senate President, Sen. Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, from the contract scams rocking the NDDC.
According to him, while responding to questions posed to him during a Channels Television’s “Morning Show”, also exonorated members of the Senate and House committee members of NDDC, saying “the Senate President and the Speaker are not aware of what the chairman of the Committee are doing in the National Assembly, and members of the committee are not also aware. It is just a one-man squad”.
According to the NDDC-ED: “Between 2016 and 2019, emergency contract of over N2 trillion were awarded under the supervision of the chairmen of both committees and this is the list of all the awardees and this is how they were all distributed.
“In this list, the Chairman, Senate Committee on behalf of the Senate, and when we asked the Senate members, they said that they didn’t know, he collected 1,000 of those jobs and said that they are going to give it to the Senate.
“These 1,000 jobs were collected by a man called Nelson Agbamuche on behalf of the Senate.
“The immediate crises that came was as a result of the budget.
“The bureaucracy told us when we came in that in 2016, there was no budget; 2017 there was no budget; 2018 there was no budget. The budget for 2019 was just passed few days ago.
“When a chairman of senate became chairman in 2015, he called the bureaucracy and said, look you need to include for me, N15 million in this budget.
“The bureaucracy said that was fair enough, they went behind and worked it out. But when they came back, the chairman said look, I didn’t say N15 billion, I said N150 billion and the bureaucracy went back and they couldn’t comply because there was no way they could have done that.
“So the chairman went back to the group and said, why don’t we award these things as emergency, why do we have to go through due process.
“That was how the emergency procedure were breached and the commission now has a commitment of over N3 trillion.
“That was why the IMC and the honorable Minister became sad.
“It didn’t stop there, the Chairman House Committee on the NDDC came to us and brought an emergency training programme of N6.4 billion and said that they have met the first milestone and said that we have to pay him N3.7 billion.
“We said, this milestone you are talking about cannot be paid because you have not done it. He said the job belongs to the Speaker, we said we are not paying.
“We went to meet the Speaker and he said that he is not aware of such a thing. It was not in the budget at all.
“When they passed the 2019 budget, the Chairman, House Committee included it as an emergency project with line-by-line item, that we must pay the money, and we said that we are not paying.
“They are claiming that we have spent or stolen N40 billion. How can that be possible?
“All the payments we made on projects, I am the Executive Director (Projects), I took my time, to verify, we have to inspect them; I visited state-by-state, I recorded it and whenever you have done something that merits payment, we will pay you.
“We were not paying as they used to pay so the contractors were very angry.
“Normally, when you have a contract in NDDC, it’s like you have won a lottery.
“A contract that they will award to you in NDDC for N700 million, you can use N10 or N20 million to do it.
“When we now inspect the contract, we now look at your Bill of Engineering Quantity, we now rate it to the job you have done and we issue you IPC for that job and with that process we saved the commission over N50 billion already”.