Senate Chief Whip Orji Uzor Kalu on Monday said the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has not paid the contractors who built the roads he facilitated.
Kalu was reacting to the communiqué by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, where he reportedly mentioned ex-governors Emmanuel Uduaghan, James Ibori, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and others to have benefited from several contracts awarded by the NDDC.
In a statement by Barrister Emeka Nwala, the former Abia Governor said he believed the issues at stake in the NDDC have to do with missing funds and not contracts awarded or jobs executed.
He expressed worry over his name being unjustly tarnished and “used to sell newspapers” by allegations being raised by Akpabio.
According to the Chief Whip, the road projects mentioned by Akpabio were interventions he facilitated for the communities as a private citizen before he became a Senator.
Kalu revealed his name is mentioned 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 parts of Abia state.
He said he would still request for more road interventions from Akpabio as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
Kalu 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 a 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 rehabilitation.
“We have put in plans to finish 19 roads in Abia North before the 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.
“Whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention.”