ASABA/Nigeria: The Senator representing Delta north in the National Assembly, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, has responded to the ranging constituency project controversy on how the funds had been utilised for the past three years.
In a statement issued by SPON Media Team titled, “Re: Constituency projects debates and misconception,” and made available to journalists, Nwaoboshi said his major concern was to correct wrong and mischievous impressions being peddled by those he described as lacking genuine information on the subject.
He said the annual vote on constituency project for a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria used to be Two Hundred Million naira (N200,000,000) until last year 2017 when it was reviewed downward, to One hundred and twenty-five million naira (N125,000,000), affirming that the facts are there for verification by who so desired.
Nwaoboshi also explained that senators including himself, do not in any way award contracts, neither do they nominate contractors, adding that they are only allowed by the law to domicile their constituency projects with a Federal government ministry or agency of their preference.
He further stated that the nominated ministry or agency is the one saddled with the responsibility of costing, funding, selecting consultants and contractors as well as execution of the project through the selected contractors.
The statement reads in part: “Since senator Nwaoboshi assumed office at the red chambers, funds have been provided just once for constituency projects and that was for 2015 budget funded in 2016.
“For the year in question (2015), N200million was voted. The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was the vendor nominated by Senator Nwaoboshi to carry out the construction of the 2015 constituency projects. The projects consist of two skill acquisition centres located in Ibusa and Kwale.
“The costing of the projects and the selection of the consultant and contractor were done by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. Using its costing methodology, the ministry decided that the voted funds could only erect the structure.
“Fencing and equipping of the structures were not part of the contract. The minister in charge is a strong APC stalwart, and can be freely accessed by members of the party for verification of facts so far submitted here.
“In the 2016 budget, the sum of 200million was again voted as constituency projects for Delta North Senatorial district. Since in their own determination and costing, the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs excluded fencing and equipping of the facilities in Ibusa and Kwale, the 2016 vote was dedicated, at the instructions of Senator Nwaoboshi, to fencing and equipping of both skill acquisition facilities in Ibusa and Kwale.
“Unfortunately, the ministry is yet to issue an award letter, even though we are presently in 2018, to the contractor for the commencement of projects captured in 2016 budget. This of course is not the making of Senator Nwaoboshi. We challenge all who are interested in this matter to verify from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs all claims so far made.
“In 2017, the constituency projects vote fell to N125million. This is also verifiable. In order to achieve equity in projects distribution across the three federal constituencies which Senator Nwaoboshi represents, it was decided that a similar skill acquisition centre be sited in Ika, Agbor precisely.
“If in the 2018 budget same figure as 2017 is maintained, the vote will be allocated to the fencing and equipping of the facility in Agbor. For the purpose of clarity, let it be stated once again that the votes for 2016 and 2017 have not been released. The 2018 budget is still at its embryonic stage.
“As an experienced and seasoned politician and administrator, Senator Nwaoboshi fully understands the dangers of leaving any piece of propaganda unattended to. That is why we have diligently laid the facts and figures bare before the public.
“The challenge is on all interested stakeholders to go to the ministry and the contractor (JAMAC Nig Ltd) for a crosscheck on all the claims made so far.
“Finally, we want to state that any senator who relies solely on his annual constituency votes will not achieve much. Senator Nwaoboshi represents nine local government areas.
“What manner of development will a paltry sum of N200million bring to nine LGAs? That is why senator Nwaoboshi worked very hard at inception to have him effectively embedded in the real power bloc at the National Assembly.
“Having achieved that, the latitude required in attracting projects is well within his reach. Until he leaves the senate, Anioma land will continue to witness a harvest of projects.”