By Chioma Iruke
Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Niger Delta has accused the Minister Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio of non execution of capital projects for 2021, for which over N25bn was appropriated.
The Chairman of the Committee, Essien Ayi, made the allegation in his opening speech at the 2022 budget defence session held with Akpabio’s Ministry.
Ayi said, “The Federal Government is firmly committed to the security of lives, property and investments in the Niger Delta region, and for economic and social activities to thrive, the sum of N25.56bn was allocated for the capital projects of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to support the development of the region by facilitating the completion of critical and ongoing projects.
“The executive and the legislature must work together to ensure that thousands of abandoned projects scattered across every nook and cranny of the Niger Delta region are completed for the betterment of the citizenry. We are all aware that various committees of the House have statutorily carried out oversight functions on the various MDAs to determine the level of implementation of the 2021 Appropriation Act, which would serve as a guide for approval for the 2022 budget estimates.
“But the information available to me from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs indicates that they are still in the procurement process which may soon result in the award of 2021 projects. They are still in the procurement process, so there is nothing that is going on as far as 2021 projects are concerned, in terms of implementation as of this moment.”
According to the lawmaker, the Committee delayed its oversight visit to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and its projects “as a result of not awarding the 2021 project.”
The Minister however faulted the claim, stating that the Ministry had already spent N10bn on the East-West Road while other projects were awaiting releases of about N7bn.
Akpabio said, “You mentioned in your opening speech that the ministry has yet to undertake the performance of 2021 projects. I will only amend it that indeed, the implementation has gone far. So, I will say that out of the capital appropriation for 2021, about N17bn has already been released and N10bn has gone to the East-West Road and about N7bn, in terms of projects, is what is outstanding to be released to the ministry.”