SENATE Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, has faulted claims by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio that 60 per cent contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) were handled by members of the National Assembly.
Akpabio had mentioned former governors Emmanuel Uduaghan, James Ibori, Kalu and former senator, Ifeanyi Araraume, among others, as beneficiaries of several contracts from the NDDC.
But, in a statement by Mr Emeka Nwala of Office of the Senate Chief Whip, Kalu said NDDC had not paid contractors that handled roads he facilitated in Abia State.
According to Kalu, the issue at stake in NDDC has to do with missing funds and not works done, so NDDC forensic audit should focus on the missing funds and not works done.
“The road projects mentioned by the minister are the interventions I facilitated for the communities as a private citizen before I became a senator,’’ he said.
Kalu argued that his name was mentioned because he used his letter headed paper to write a sympathetic letter to NDDC in 2016 pleading with the commission to rescue roads in Abia.
According to Kalu, who was Abia Governor between 1999 and 2007 and sworn in as senator on June 11, 2019, “between 2016 and 2018 during my tour to several communities, leaders and welfare unions of most communities pleaded for urgent intervention on some dilapidated roads.
“I wrote to NDDC informing the body of the conditions of these roads and the need for their attention since Abia is an NDDC state.”
After NDDC awarded the roads contracts, Kalu said that “whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention.”
He said the roads are Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road; Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road and Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road, Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende and Ozu-Amuru-Abam Roads.
“The contractors have completed and delivered these roads long time ago except Abam-Atani Road, which I learnt from the contractors was slowed down due to rain but still ongoing.
“Meanwhile, the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime,” he said.