When Femi Gbajabiamila challenged Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio to publish the names of the lawmakers allegedly involved in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contract scandal, perhaps he thought Akpabio will not take him on.
Now, Akpabio has responded and published (leaked) names of some members of both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Topping the list are; Hon. Nicholas Mutu (74 projects); Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (53 projects); Senator Mathew Urhoghide (6 projects); Sen. James Manager (6 projects) and Sen. Samuel Anyanwu (19 projects).
Here is a brief profile of the lawmakers fingered in the NDDC contract scandal
Hon. Nicholas Mutu (PDP, Delta)
Mutu is the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives. He has been in the National Assembly since the return of democracy.
He served as the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC in the 7th and 8th House. Under his leadership as the Chairman of the Committee, the budget of the commission had a two-year backlog. In fact, the 2018 budget of NDDC was passed in May 2019.
Also, in February, Mutu was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on alleged financial fraud. According to Akpabio, Mutu is linked to 74 projects. However, Mutu has denied having links to the 74 projects listed by Akpabio.
“During my time as the Chairman of the NDDC, I did not participate in the process of contract awards in the commission and had no influence over the process as the bulk rest squarely with the Commission.
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“I am not an NDDC contractor, neither has any company owned by me been awarded any contract by the NDDC.”
Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta)
Senator Nwaoboshi is at the very heart of the ongoing scandal. Like Mutu, he was also the Chairman of the committee in the 8th Senate and currently serves as the Chairman of the Committee.
The NDDC management accused the Delta-born lawmaker of using 11 companies as fronts to secure for himself N3.6 billion worth of contracts in September 2016.
Both Akpabio and Nwaoboshi has been trading allegations and counter-allegations. In fact, Nunieh Joi claimed that Akpabio prevailed on her to rope Nwaoboshi into the corruption in Commission.
However, Akpabio has now claimed that Nwaoboshi indeed has been taking contracts from the commission.
Nwaoboshi in a statement on Monday challenged Akpabio to take the list to antigraft agencies (EFCC).
“Send the so-called list to anti-graft and other security agencies if he can substantiate the apparently baseless allegation.”
This is another gauntlet thrown at Akpabio. Will he pick this one up? Time will tell.
James Manager (PDP, Delta)
James Manager has been in the Senate Since 2003, representing Delta South Senatorial District in the Red chamber.
The former Commissioner of Works in Delta State from 1999-2003 has been around politics for a very long period.
According to Akpabio’s list, Manager is allegedly linked to six projects of the NDDC.
Manager served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on NDDC in the 7th Senate (2011-2015).
Like everyone, Sen Manager has denied any link to the projects.
In his defence, he claimed that he has never been to the headquarters of NDDC or any of the branches since 2015.
Senator Sam Anyanwu (PDP, Imo)
The Former Chairman of the powerful Ethic and Privilege committee of the 8th Senate that suspended Ali Ndume and almost did the same to Sen Ovie Omo-Agege is also in the midst of the ongoing scandal.
Anyanwu in Akpabio’s list is linked to 19 projects of the NDDC. Once again, Anyanwu has also denied the allegation by Akpabio.
In an interview with BBC Pidgin, Anyanwu said that he only influenced the projects to his constituency, which is part of the NDDC states.
Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo)
The Senator representing Edo South Senatorial district is also in the eye of the storm with an allegation that he is linked to the infamous NDDC projects.
Urhoghide was first elected into the senate in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019 for another term.
According to Akpabio, Urhoghide is linked to six projects.