The Executive Director (Projects) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Cairo Ojougboh, yesterday damned the ongoing probe of the commission by the National Assembly, where it was alleged that lawmakers ruined the agency for 20 years through proxy contract awards. He said the probe was masterminded to witchhunt and dissuade members of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the commission from delivering on its terms of assignment. He said the National Assembly was most disturbed that the office of the Minister of the Niger Delta was calling the shot at the commission, which to them, was unusual.
Ojougboh spoke at the palace of the Asagba of Asaba, Obi Chike Edozien, in Asaba, Delta State, before inaugurating the police equipment fund, worth N450 million. He alleged that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federal (SGF) and the National Assembly had reportedly liquidated the commission in the past 20 years.
He said the IMC came to being to sanitise the system by mopping-up the messy situation the commission has been plunged into. He said: “I don’t believe I should play politics in the palace. The truth must be told. For 20 years, there was nothing on ground to show for the existence of the commission. IMC is out to make a difference, this they don’t want. The money they told 1,411 persons to refund was paid to very many persons. “The Senators are the contractors of NDDC. As we speak, all the crimes they perpetrated in the past 20 years in NDDC were done through the office of the SGF. We have the files of how the National Assembly ruined the commission.” “We will not allow this criminality to be returned to that office.
They tampered with many budgets of the commission, that is criminal? What kind of country are we? Their extent of criminality is to be awarding contracts to themselves. We have the list, it is in my car as we speak. “We have it through Mutu (Nicholas, a Delta House of Representatives members), to Manager (James, the Senator for Delta South), to Nwaoboshi (Peter, the Senator for Delta North). Most of the payments we made were to National Assembly nominees.” “I have not stolen any money. The money paid into my account was for the trip I was to embark upon but was postponed as a result of COVID-19.”
He urged the monarch to protect the interest of the Anioma nation, the oil producing area of Delta state and the Niger Delta region and prevent the National Assembly from subsuming the commission under the office of the SGF again. The monarch, who described Ojougboh as a “well-known and dedicated fighter in Nigeria politics”, said he perceived something more than probe to the impasse between the National Assembly and the commission.