The Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe has debunked the claims by Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that N800million meant for the Okpella Water Project was embezzled by the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government.
Mrs. Ochekpe recalled that Oshiomhole, while speaking during the inauguration of the 24km Ogiriga-Afokpella-Okugbe-Imiekuri-Ohu road project in Edo, alleged “that PDP – led Federal Government siphoned N800 million meant for a water project at Okpella, Etsako LGA of Edo State. He went further to allege that record at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Abuja, shows that the project had been completed without single water pipe laid”.
The minister insisted that “His Excellency and the people of Okpella, and indeed, all Nigerians need to know that there is no such record or claims by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources that the water project in Okpella is completed or in use”.
She said further 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)”, the minister clarified.
“The Federal Ministry of Water Resources at the inception of this administration 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 N800m 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”.
Mrs. Ochekpe continued, “Governor Oshiomhole needs 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. You may wish to check the scorecard of the Ministry.
“The Federal Ministry of Water Resources therefore demands that the Comrade Governor use the same media to retract his unfounded allegations against the Federal Government of siphoning N800m that never existed”.