A Nigerian senator who was accused by a government agency of using 11 companies as fronts to secure for himself a N3.6 billion contract has joined Nigeria’s ruling party,.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday welcomed the senator, Peter Nwaoboshi, to his party, saying “you are welcome to the progressives family.’’

Mr Nwaoboshi, formerly of the Peoples Democratic Party, represents Delta North District in the Senate. He was presented to President Buhari and the National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) at the State House by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.

Mr Omo-Agege said Mr Nwaoboshi’s decision to join the APC clearly shows that the effort of the CECPC was yielding fruit.

The senator was warmly welcomed by party members, presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu said in a Friday statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES.

Nwaoboshi enmeshed in NDDC scandal

Amidst the various allegations and counter allegations of fraud in the NDDC last year, the Niger Delta minister, Godswill Akpabio, in July, accused federal lawmakers of corruption and poor job delivery in the NDDC, saying that most of the commission’s contracts were executed by the lawmakers.

The NDDC had earlier in June last year accused Mr Nwaoboshi of using 11 companies as fronts to secure for himself a N3.6 billion contract in the commission. The contract was not executed and the money not refunded, the commission said.

The NDDC spokesperson, Charles Odili, had said the contract was the “biggest single case of looting of the Commission’s resources.”

Mr Nwaoboshi is the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta and the NDDC and like other named lawmakers denied any wrongdoing. Nobody has been convicted for the various allegations of fraud in the NDDC and a government-ordered probe has not been concluded.

Mr Akpabio, who once said the NDDC ‘abandoned’ $70 million in a bank for 13 years, said the commission was so corrupt that it was treated like a teller machine where money could be withdrawn freely at any time.

Interestingly, Mr Akpabio’s tenure as the Niger Delta affairs minister has also been blighted by the corruption scandals in the NDDC.

“I said it on radio the other day, why did it take us 20 years to know that NDDC was not living up to its mandate?” said Ken Henshaw, the Executive Director of We The People, a non-governmental organisation in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“It was created in 2000 and it took us up to 2020 to realise that the NDDC wasn’t working.

“The same thing with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. Have we carried out any evaluation to know whether the ministry is living up to its mandate?

“I think we should put robust monitoring and evaluation frame-work in place to ensure there is a match between projects and objectives and to ensure that those projects actually speak to the issues in the Niger Delta region,” Mr Henshaw said.

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