Chief Whip of the Senate and former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has denied personally getting any contract from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NCDC).
Naija News reports that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, had linked former governors of Delta State, James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, among others as beneficiaries of NDDC contracts.
In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Akpabio said one of the projects linked to them was awarded in 2018 at a cost which ranges from N400m and N560m each.
One of the projects linked to Ibori was the emergency repairs of Onoghove community road from Ajanesan to Western Delta University at a cost of N485.7m.
Uduaghan was linked to the emergency repairs of Close B, Alhaji Estate & Environs, Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt at a cost of N429m.
Five projects were linked to Kalu, who was simply identified in the document as OUK-Kalu (the project source).
The emergency repairs on roads projects linked to Kalu are in Abia State and the costs ranged from N517m to N560m.
The details are Emergency repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road (N517.9m) and repairs of Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road, Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze (N560m).
Others linked to Kalu are Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road (N523.7m), Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende road (508m), and the Ozu-Amuru-Abam Road at the cost of N523.4m.
Reacting in a statement by Barrister Emeka Nwala of office of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu expressed worry over his name being used indiscriminately to sell newspapers without verifications.
He stated that the road projects mentioned by Akpabio were interventions he facilitated for the communities as a private citizen before he became a senator.
According to him, the minister mentioned his name because he used his letter headed paper to write a sympathetic letter to the NDDC in 2016 requesting and pleading with the body to rescue roads in Abia.
He also noted that his relationship with Senator Akpabio dates years back and long before he (Kalu) became a governor, adding that he would still request for more road interventions for Abia State from Akpabio
Kalu said: “I was Governor of Abia State between 1999 and 2007 and never held any public office until June 11, 2019 when I was sworn in as a senator. Between 2016 and 2018, during my tour to several communities, leaders and welfare unions of most communities pleaded for urgent intervention on some dilapidated roads. I wrote to the NDDC informing the body of the conditions of these roads and the need for their attention since Abia is an NDDC state.
“The NDDC in their consideration which I am very grateful to, awarded the roads to companies that duly tendered for the projects and not myself.
“Whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention.”
The Senate Chief Whip also noted that the NDDC that awarded these projects were not any of the interim management in controversy but the fully constituted body of NDDC with its board.
“Meanwhile, it would interest Nigerians to know that the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime. It has not been easy with the contractors but because it’s a community project they have only but kept hope alive on the NDDC,” he added.