How NCDMB under Wabote wasted $500m in ‘non-existing’ investments – Minister 

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, (Oil) Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri has insisted that he stands by his words that Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) wasted over $500 million of the industry fund in equity investments in private establishments and in loans that are now non-performing.

Speaking at the Petroleum Club’s quarterly event in Lagos, Lokpobiri dismissed as ‘blatant lies from the pit of hell’, claiming that his office requested an increase on NCDMB budget by N30 billion for his office.  

Reacting to recent statements by former Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, the minister in a statement signed by his special assistant media and communication, challenged Wabote to produce proof of a conversation.

‘’Our position is that he who alleges must prove the same. So, if Mr. Wabote has proof of such conversation, he is challenged to provide the same.

‘’Secondly the minister has no aide called Blackson. All his aides were duly selected in line with extant laws and have documents to that effect,” he said.

According to the statement, ‘’The minister in his capacity as chairman of the Governing Council stands by his statement at The Petroleum Club’s quarterly event in Lagos, and as journalists I welcome you to visit the places mentioned to verify the allegations for yourself. 

‘’Thirdly, the said Atlantic Refinery was supposed to be built in Mr Wabote’s hometown, he should show Nigerians where that refinery is.

‘’Fourthly, the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical company was also paid for, you are welcomed to also visit the site to verify the facts for yourself.”

Lokpobiri maintained that investigations are ongoing and the monies belonging to Nigerians will be recovered when the truth comes to light.  

‘’Let me add that these revelations are not new, they were first made during an investigative hearing of the House of representative committee on local content. Again, the records are there and you are welcome to verify these facts. 

‘’The minister has never been part of any budgeting process of any parastatal under the ministry, you are welcomed to visit these agencies to verify for yourself.

‘’Finally, the minister’s office is run with a budget superintendent by the permanent secretary and so one will wonder how the minister will ask another entity to make provisions for the budget of his Office. The minister has an impeccable record from his time as Minister of Agric and will continue to stand for the truth.

“The minister and Indeed the Chairman of the Governing Council of the NCDMB will not abdicate his responsibility to please anyone. He has a responsibility to ensure that, that which belongs to Nigerians is judiciously used for Nigerians 

‘’I have had the course to read Mr Wabote’s release and everyone can see that he is still nursing the wounds of being replaced even after spending seven years at the Board. At best, this is a clear case of when you fight corruption, corruption will fight back,” he said.

Earlier, the immediate past NCDMB ES Engr. Wabote had earlier debunked the minister’s statement describing it as reckless.

Wabote challenged the minister to visit the sites of the projects the agency invested in while accusing the minister of playing politics.

“The HMSPR-Oil is implored to visit the construction sites to avail himself of facts on ground. He should also check the MPR archives of the strategic plan to diversify oil and gas development clusters in the Niger Delta using Bonny Island, Brass Island, Onne, Ogidigben, Ibom, etc. Perhaps, this will cure his aversion to any developmental initiative in Brass Island and the Niger Delta in general,” Wabote said.