NIGER Delta Development Commission (NDDC) officials have asked Senator Peter Nwaoboshi to refund the sum of N2.5bn which he received for the supply of plastic desks and chairs for primary and secondary schools in the region.
Senator Nwaoboshi is the chairman of the senate committee on NDDC, whose job it is to provide oversight and scrutinise the commission. However, in typical Nigerian fashion, politicians do not have any regard for the vested interest principle or the fact that their actions may bring about a clash of interest.
At the moment, the National Assembly is scrutinising the activities of the NDDC and during the probe, Senator Godswill Akpabio, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, named Nwaoboshi as one of the lawmakers who benefited from contracts awarded by the commission. Apparently, the legislator got awarded 53 contracts from the commission, an allegation he denied.
In a letter dated July 5 and addressed to Senator Nwaoboshi, Peter Okoro, the NDDC director of legal services, said the contract was fully paid for but the commission did not receive the items. He added that instead, the desks and chairs were taken to a warehouse along the Benin expressway.
Mr Okoro said: “Sometime in 2017, the commission awarded contracts to certain companies for the production of desks and chairs for primary and secondary schools in the Niger Delta region under the 2016 budget of the commission. The list of the companies is attached as Annexure A and the total value of the said contracts was ₦2.552.305,600.00.
“That the contracts were in furtherance of the commission’s education sector mandate as catalyst for the improvement of classroom and learning conditions in the Niger Delta region. Instead of supplying the chairs and desks to the commission’s warehouse in Port Harcourt or to any of the NDDC offices in the nine Niger Delta states, the items were supplied to a warehouse described as Akuede Akwis located at Benin Expressway, Okpanam, before Wichetech Aluminium Company.
“Despite having fully paid for the 2017 contracts for the production of chairs and desks, the items have not been supplied to the commission. The resultant effect is that the commission and the Niger Delta region have been deprived of the use of the desks and chairs.
“I have been further directed to demand that you refund the sum of ₦2,552,305,600.00 to the commission being the contract sums paid in respect of the said contracts within 14 days of this letter.”
There have been allegations and counter-allegations following the decision of the National Assembly to probe the alleged mismanagement of funds by the commission. Senator Nwaoboshi had accused Senator Akpabio of securing a N300m fencing contract from the NDDC while he was a senator in the previous assembly.