The acting executive director, projects, of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Cairo Ojougboh, has revealed that a serving Nigerian senator is handling 300 of the commission’s projects.
Ojougboh, who did not, immediately, name the indicted senator, said 120 of the contracts have been fully paid for, noting that the contracts are being investigated.
The director spoke during a press briefing in Abuja, where he said the commission is owing N3 trillion in contract sum and that the ongoing forensic audit would help uncover how the debt was accrued.
The federal government had inaugurated a three-man committee to oversee the operations of the NDDC. President Buhari recently ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the commission from 2001 to 2019.
Buhari said the directive became necessary in view of the persistent criticisms of the operations of the commission. Ojougboh accused the unnamed senator of sabotaging the efforts of the interim committee.
“Somebody who is particularly interested in a major contract of the NDDC, who is a member of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he alone has 300 jobs in the NDDC. Of the 300 contracts, 120 has been fully paid and he has not mobilised to site for these 120,” Ojougboh said.
“It is obvious that the reason he is behaving the way he is behaving is that he wants the system, the looting in the NDDC to continue, and this is what the Interim Management Committee will not support. It is as simple as that.
“The NDDC Interim Payment Certificates that are pending are worth over N3 trillion. That is what the NDDC owes these phantom contractors. It is these phantom contractors that are preaching and making noise to stop the probe. All they want is for the stealing to continue.
“Therefore, when given the opportunity that we have just been given, our job is to make sure that we avail the auditors all the necessary documents and information, all the necessary help they need because we are not protecting any interest but to help the auditors do their job as it is required,” he said.
Ojougboh said the commission is owing some of its workers 15 years salary arrears. “All they want is to bring puppets to manage the forensic audit because they know that the members of the IMC will not compromise. If you look at the records at the NDDC, you will cry.
“Some genuine people that have done jobs for the board have not been paid for over 15 years and their families are suffering. Many of those who were paid are these phantom contractors. I appeal to Nigerians to support the position of Mr President, to support the IMC, to support the people of the Niger Delta and the forensic audit,” he said.