Sam Anyanwu, a former Imo East senator, has reacted to the list of lawmakers who allegedly got contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), PREMIUM TIMES reports.
He said he was shocked to hear his name mentioned as one of the beneficiaries of the contracts.
The list was released by the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, on Sunday.
He listed Mr Anyanwu against 19 projects.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Peter Nwabaoshi, was also listed against 53 projects.
Some of the projects include emergency repairs of Asue Street, Owa Phase 2; ldumuogbe Road via Ojemaye; Otolokpo College Road, Otolokpo; and the Police lshu Ani Ukwu Road, Issele Uku.
Mr Akpabio also mentioned two other senators. He said Matthew Urhoghide got six projects while James Manager got six contracts.
The former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC, Nicholas Mutu, was also named by the minister as receiving 74 contracts – the highest among the listed lawmakers.
Some of the projects are emergency roads in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers states.
A few others were simply identified as Ondo and Edo reps.
This was in response to the threat issued by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, to sue the minister for alleged defamation of character.
Mr Akpabio at a hearing with the House panel alleged that the majority of the contracts in the NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly and was challenged by Mr Gbajabiamila, to name the lawmakers involved in the scandal within 48 hours.
The minister earlier retracted his claim, saying his reference was not to current lawmakers of the ninth assembly.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Anyanwu said as a member of the committee in the eight Senate, he nominated projects for his constituency but none was awarded to him.
“First I was shocked to hear my name. Very shocked that the honourable minister of Niger Delta could mention my name that I was awarded contracts. I was a member of the committee on NDDC. The current minister of Niger Delta affairs was also a member and was the minority leader of the Senate.
“As a member of the committee on NDDC, I attracted projects to my constituency, no contract was ever awarded to me, the beneficiaries of these contracts are my people that I represent, Imo East, who are members of the Niger Delta and I challenge the honourable minister and NDDC to go through their records if there was any contract awarded to me or any dime traceable to me.
“So it is disheartening. As politicians, you have political enemies who would act on these to work against you and that is why I feel very very hurt on this issue and I felt I had to clear the air and so you hear my side of the story.”
The former lawmaker also said he got complaints from contractors handling some of the projects in his constituency saying the NDDC has not paid a dime.
“I have it on good authority that NDDC does not pay mobilisation for contracts. I’m using this medium to call on NDDC to go to my constituency and complete the projects they have started,” he said.
Mr Anyanwu also wondered why only three senators were mentioned when the committee had 18 members.
“Having made several futile attempts to contact the minister and confront him personally,” he said his lawyers are going to write Mr Akpabio to retract his name or provide proof after which the next legal step would be taken.
This controversy comes days after the Senate resolved to investigate allegations of corruption levelled by the NDDC against some lawmakers.
The Senate gave its committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions four weeks to probe the allegations made by the management of the NDDC and Mr Akpabio.
Both the House and the Senate have been investigating alleged misappropriation of funds and financial recklessness in the commission.