AKPABIO'S LIST: JAMES IBORI DENIES RECEIVING NDDC CONTRACTS
The former Governor of Delta State Chief James Onanaefe Ibori has denied reports published by some news media that linked him to various contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
According to a report published by the Punch, The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, named James Ibori as one of the recipients of the contracts awarded by the NDDC.
Recall that Akpabio had declared before an investigative panel that lawmakers are the highest beneficiaries of NDDC contracts. His assertion caused a mild drama with the presiding chairman urging him to keep quiet and off his mic.
Afterwards, the Speaker of Nigeria's 9th House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila mandated that Akpabio should mention the names of the said lawmakers involved in contract racketeering or face criminal prosecution.
Following reports that Governor Akpabio mentioned his name, Chief Ibori through his media aide, Tony Eluemunor stated categorically that he "never solicited for, or was awarded, or indeed executed any contract with NDDC or any government agency, at any time, for that matter."
The elder statesman who was recently appointed as the patron of the Former Governor's forum, a group made up of past state governors in Nigeria, described the allegation has 'ridiculous.'
He added that he initially never wanted to dignify the accusation with a response. Still, He chose to do so to set the records straight and because of his friends and associates who inundated him with phone calls since the news broke out.
He reiterated that all through his years in and out of public office, he has never been accused of being a government contractor, adding that the NDDC is a product of his personal sacrifice as well as those of his Niger Delta colleagues.
The former Delta State Governor said his colleagues in 1999 -2007 override the veto of President Olusegun Obasanjo who refused to accent to the NDDC Bill at the time.
"If not for the exemplary courage some of us exhibited, there would have not been an NDDC to bicker about today", he said.
James Ibori advised Akpabio to please calm down and focus on the task at hand, adding that the NDDC has degenerated to a tragedy.
"Watching the level the NDDC has degenerated to, is a tragedy. We owe it a duty to the people of the Niger Delta to make NDDC work to ameliorate the sufferings of the people of the region and to realise the dream for which we fought for it to be set up. So, let everybody involved in the NDDC do their duties to the good people of the region.," he added.
Ibori was the Governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007 but was sentenced to 13 years in prison for money laundering by a UK court in 2012. However, he only served a four-year jail term and was released in from jail in 2016.