IN its bid to paint the Peoples Democratic Party as corrupt Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State opens a can of worms about a water project through which N800 million was siphoned in the federal ministry of water resources which the ministry claimed was done by General Muhammadu Buhari, All Progressive Congress presidential candidate during his reign as the chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole may have unwittingly opened up a can of worms about the past actions of General Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress when he was the chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF. Oshiomhole in an apparent move to impugn the ruling government of People Democratic Party as being corrupt has instead cast blight on Buhari by dredging up the allegation about uncompleted water project in his state. Oshiomhole on February 17, published in some national dailies that Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led federal government siphoned the sum of N800 million meant for water project at Okpella, Etsako east lga in the state.
He alleged that records at the ministry showed that the project had been completed without single water pipe laid.
But Sarah Reng Ochekpe, minister of water resources swiftly replied that records in the ministry of water resources, Abuja, actually showed that the contract was one of the abandoned project initiated by Buhari when he was the chairman of the PTF. The minister in a statement she signed and made available to Realnews February19, stated that the Oshiomhole and the people of Okpella, and indeed, all Nigerians need to know that there was no such record or claims that the water project in Okpella is completed or in use.
“His Excellency may wish to note that the Okpella Water Supply Project was awarded by the defunct Petroleum (special) Trust Fund, PTF, in December 1998. For the avoidance of doubt, the Okpella project is one of the failed projects of the current flag bearer of the APC – General Muhammadu Buhari when he was the chairman of the Petroleum Trust fund, PTF”, it said.
The ministry said that at the inception of this administration it undertook a nationwide assessment of several abandoned projects in the water sector including the Okpella water supply project, and documented them properly for completion by the federal government of Nigeria.
“You may wish to note that some of them have been completed, such as Ilesha Dam in Osun State, Ogwushi-Uku Dam in Delta state, among others across the country. Such spurious allegations of completion had been trumped up in the past and reported to the EFCC who have carried out investigations and discovered that there are no such records of completion in the ministry, nor were there any funds appropriated and released to the tune of N800 million and expended by the ministry on the Okpella water supply project.
“If Governor Oshiomhole wants to undertake water projects especially for the people of Edo State, which is his statutory responsibility any way, let him go ahead and do so without joining issues with the PDP led federal government. The role of the federal government in the provision of water to rural communities is interventionist not statutory. So Comrade Governor, brace up to your responsibilities and provide water for Edo people,” she said.
The minister also said that Governor Oshiomhole needed to know that no government of Nigeria over the years has demonstrated as much political will and delivered on its promises in the water sector like the President Jonathan led federal government, advising him to check the scorecard of the ministry.
The federal ministry of water resources demands that the Oshiomhole should use the same media to retract his unfounded allegations against the federal government of siphoning N800m that never existed.
— Mar. 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT