The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has denied reports in online media about the alleged disappearance of a whooping N21.9 billion meant for the development of its office on Akwa Ibom State.
It described the report as “spurious, unfounded and irresponsible news story”, saying that the report was the handiwork of “a faceless hack in the obvious employment of mischievous and dubious characters.”
Director, Corporate Affairs, NDDC, Ibitoye Abosede, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, also denied online reports that the foundation laying ceremony was conducted two years ago.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), has just been brought to a spurious, unfounded and irresponsible news story making the rounds online, titled “N21.9bn Akwa Ibom NDDC Office Fund Disappears, Project Abandoned”, written by a faceless hack in the obvious employment of mischievous, dubious characters.
“The fabricated story alleges, among many fabrications, that the foundation stone of the project was laid ‘two years’ ago, that reptiles have taken over the site, as well as the actionable, criminal lie that the Managing Director/CEO of the Commission, Mr. Nsima Ekere, allegedly ‘diverted’ the funds to his ‘governorship election’ in Akwa Ibom State.
“While it is not our usual practice to dignify irresponsible and fraudulent journalism with a response, we believe it is important to set the facts straight, so that the public will know the truth and understand that in this day of politicking, people who sit in otherwise noble and responsible positions, compelled by desperate efforts to demonize their opponents, resort to blackmail, lies, dubious shenanigans and questionable tactics to deceive the people and divert their attention from their own failings.
“It bears restating here that the Niger Delta Development Commission is a responsible and responsive organisation, under a Governing Board peopled by very responsible Nigerians, with clear protocols for the administration and implementation of projects and programmes. It is not a one-man show and cannot, therefore, experience any diversion of funds, as the story alleges.
“Now the facts: The foundation laying ceremony for this project, as accompanying photograph shows, was laid only on July 20, 2018, and not two years ago.
“The project was awarded to Messrs Brett Integrated Investment Limited (and not Brett Nigeria Limited) at the contract value of N1,061,012,796.22, and not at N21.9billion, as falsely reported. But it is very clear that this faceless reporter was neither concerned about his/her reputation nor facts;
“The contractors have been at site working. A visit to the site will show that materials are on site, iron works fabricated and over 10,000 blocks molded, which would take the project to its first milestone within one month, as assured by the contractors. Only last week, more materials were deposited at site.
“That the account for the project, opened by the contractors with First Bank of Nigeria Plc, is secured by an Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) where all monies are deposited. It cannot be possible therefore within law to divert the funds as fraudulently reported. This can be easily verified with the bank.”