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Reps blast Ekaette, Orubebe over rot in N’ Delta Ministry

…seek dissolution of the ministry

By Tordue Salem

ABUJA—A miffed House of Representatives yesterday described the Minister of Niger Delta, Mr. Ufot Ekaette as a failure and promptly dismissed as a fraud, his report on contracts paid for, consultancy payments and the percentage of work completed on projects in the Niger Delta region

The House Committee on Niger Delta led by Rep. Olaka Nwogu (PDP/Delta), took turns yesterday to castigate Ufot Ekaette and Elder Godsday Orubebe for failing to implement a single project in the Niger Delta region since the Ministry was created last year, but feeding consultants fat on over N207billion, more that N48billion voted for the region in the 2009 budget.

“The figures that you have in your report cannot be defended in every sense of responsibility. Therefore we are going to request that on Tuesday next week you provide us with details on the profile of consultants, the money paid them, and the projects executed”, Nwogu said.

Majority of the Committee members at yesterday’s meeting with the ministry officials even sought an outright dissolution of the Ministry, which one of them, the Chairman of the Committee on Business and Rules, Rep. Ita Enang (PDP/Itu-Akwa Ibom) described as “a diplomatic deceit”, created by President Umaru Yar’Adua to pull the wool over the eyes of the long-suffering peoples of the Niger Delta region.

“The creation of the Niger Delta Ministry and what is done there is a diplomatic deceit, and this document is nothing but an attempt to deceive this Committee. According to this document, (the Minister’s report) nothing has been done except consultancy payments”, Enang said.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Gas Resources, Rep. Igo Aguma (PDP/Port Harcourt/Rivers) and a member of the Committee, in his response to Elder Orubebe’s position on constraints on due process, described the Bureau for Public Procurement as presently constituted and headed by Engineer Emeka Ezeh as “illegal” and of no consequence as regards the vetting of projects”.

He recalled that the “House has passed a resolution declaring the Due Process Office that has Engineer Emeka Ezeh as DG as illegal and of no consequence”, warning that any Ministry using that office as an excuse to delay projects risked the wrath of the National Assembly.

The Committee pre-dominated by Lawmakers from the Niger Delta region burnt with anger as they tore apart the report presented to them by the Ministers.


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