Former governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu has denied the allegations of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio that he benefitted from contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Speaking through a statement by Barrister Emeka Nwala, he said that NDDC has not paid the contractors who built the roads he facilitated.
Akpabio had threatened to name members of the National Assembly who had benefited from various contracts in the NDDC, thus he listed the names of ex governors such as Uduaghan, James Ibori, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu amongst others as major beneficiaries of the Commission’s contracts.
He explained that the road projects mentioned by the Honourable Minister are the interventions he facilitated for the communities as a private citizen before he became a Senator.
According to him Akpabio decided to mention his name because he used his letter headed paper to write a sympathetic letter to the NDDC in 2016 requesting and pleading with the intervention body to rescue roads in in parts of Abia state.
He said, “The roads I requested for intervention as mentioned by the Honourable Minister were repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road; Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road, Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze; Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road; the Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende road and Ozu-Amuru-Abam Road.
“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, it would interest Nigerians to know that the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime.
“It has not been easy with the contractors but because it’s a community project they have only but kept hope alive on the NDDC.
“I am so much concerned about roads because I understand the economic importance of good roads, that’s why I built several roads when I was Governor.
“Even as a Senator, it would interest you to know that my major constituency projects are road constructions, reconstructions and rehabilitations. We have put in plans to finish 19 roads in Abia North before end of 2021.
“As a community leader, I do not intend to stop my interventions on roads in NDDC states because all the states need good roads. Good roads help to drive the economy.
“Therefore, I believe the NDDC forensic audit should focus on the missing funds and not works done.
“They should focus on paying contractors that delivered their jobs and not using my name indiscriminately to sell newspapers.
“The Honourable Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio is my good old friend. We have been friends even before I became a governor.
“I hope he doesn’t expect me to stop seeking for road interventions in our communities. It is his civic responsibility to support the communities and I am very confident he will oblige our future requests especially in areas of good roads.”