NDDC pays 197 stranded UK scholarship students N2.28bn…Prosecute Ojougboh if he fails to release names — PANDEF

…Ojougboh has never said anything that is true — Nwaoboshi

…Ojougboh’s claims diversionary — SSRG

By Henry Umoru, Samuel Oyadongha & Chioma Onuegbu

Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and Chairman,  Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi,  have challenged the Interim Management Committee IMC, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to go ahead and release the list of looters of the commission.

It would be recalled that IMC, of NDDC, had said the country would break up, if it releases the list of those involved in looting the commission.

The IMC also accused members of the National Assembly of plotting to stall the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Executive Director in charge of Projects at the NDDC, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, in an interview with Vanguard in Abuja on Sunday, had said that Nigerians would be shocked if the commission release the names because of the caliber of persons involved in contract scam in 2017 and 2019, especially among members of the National Assembly.

Reacting to the development, however, PANDEF, yesterday, through its National Chairman and former military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd), stressed that it wants to see the looter’s list released as quickly as possible, adding that releasing the list would not break the country but rather make it even stronger by exposing its enemies.

Prosecute Ojougboh if he fails to release names of looters —PANDEF

He, however, warned that Ojougboh should be prosecuted if he fails to release the list for trying to mislead Nigerians, and questioned why the commission should think that by releasing the list Nigeria will break up.

He said, “First of all, when PANDEF was reacting to the forensic audit, we had said we want the names of all those who benefitted from the contract of NDDC to be made public, we’ve said that before so many times. So we want that list to be released as quickly as possible.

“For them to release that list will not break up, Nigeria, rather it will make Nigeria stronger. It will make us united because, we will now know those who are against the interest of this nation, the real enemies of this region and Nigeria as a whole.

“In fact, if he doesn’t go ahead to release the looter’s list, he should be prosecuted for trying to mislead the country. He is a director in the IMC, he is in the position to have the list, so PANDEF is saying let him go ahead and release the list because we are in support that the list should be made public, otherwise, he should be made to explain why he should joke with something like that. That is our stand.”

Meanwhile, some stakeholders from the state when contacted refused to comment on the issue saying that they would not want to promote a statement credited to Ojougboh.

Ojougboh has never said anything that is true —Nwaoboshi

Nwaoboshi (PDP Delta North), in his reaction, said, yesterday, that he will not waste his time to reply Ojougboh.

Speaking with Vanguard when asked of his reaction to Ojougboh’s claims, he said, that he was not going to comment on the matter against the backdrop that the IMC Executive Director, Projects was always presenting to Nigerians lies and what he cannot substantiate.

“I will not make any comment on what Ojougboh has said, I will not waste my time to reply him. All the things he had been raising before now and in the present are lies, he is a pathological liar. He has never said anything that is true, I cannot waste my time, joining issues with Cairo.”

Ojougboh’s claims diversionary —SSRG

Reacting also, South South Reawakening Group, SSRG, described as diversionary the statement by Ojougboh that “Nigeria will break if it releases looters list.”

Convener of SSRG, Joseph Ambakederimo said, “It didn’t come as a surprise to some of us because it is the pattern that they have adopted by trivialising very serious allegations of corruption leveled against the Minister and the IMC team.

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“It is their stock in trade to want to divert the public attention away from the putrid smell that has characterised the activities of the IMC that has refused to go away. Why would he not speak on the alleged bribe for payment that is currently going on with reckless abandon, a scheme that he (Cairo) is superintending? Payment for the fraudulent de-silting and emergency contracts awarded and the ones backdated are paid only if the beneficiary contractors are willing to pay percentage ranging from 30 to 40 per cent. If they have found anything untoward they should not hesitate to make public.

“Further scrutiny of his statement could be viewed as a publicity stunt and a scheme to blackmail those who are carrying out their legal responsibility of oversight and those prosecuting them for mismanagement and reckless expenditure of public funds. And don’t forget that his statement is coming after the ICPC made public that its investigation is closing in on officials of the commission.

“The approval of N772million by the President for the forensic audit and being funded by the Presidency is not an endorsement of the work they do at the moment by the President. If we read the barometer accurately, the President just wants them to quickly as possible finish the audit and submit whatever disjointed and pre determined report.

We come to this conclusion when we take the statement of the President on Sallah day to newsmen that people have abused trust. As far as we are concerned, this crop of characters running the show in the NDDC now are the worst so far that have been appointed to manage the commission and it’s a shame.”

Vanguard

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