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Minister for Works, Engr David Umahi

"They are being very mischievous. In June of the year 2023, I was in the Senate. So these projects, if they are correct, would have been awarded while I was a governor, not as a minister. Number two, in July, I was in the Senate. Up to 20th August, I was in the Senate." Umahi.

Nigeria's Minister for Works, David Nweze Umahi who has been consistently pushing for quality service delivery and transparency in the ease of doing business especially from contractors and stakeholders in the construction sector, has reacted to a trending report by BudgIT Trackta; a budget monitoring platform wherein, it raised some queries as regards to payments allegedly made by the Minister of Works.

Umahi, who is visibly, one of the best performing Ministers in the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's administration that has as its mantra; the Renewed Hope Agenda, has come out to react and throw light on the issue.

Respected for his forthrightness and blunt nature in addressing such issues, Engr Umahi on Saturday, while on inspection tour to on-going road construction sites in the southeast geo-political zone, drew the attention of journalists to the purported report which had alleged that he; Umahi had paid #8.7bn into a microfinance bank.

"Let me also use the opportunity to debunk something that is ongoing in the social media." He said.

"I saw where they put my picture, a very beautiful picture, for that matter, saying we paid 8.7 billion to the microfinance bank. But they went ahead to tag the eight point something billion naira against a number of projects in Ekiti, Kaduna, Kastina and Borno States saying these payments were done between June and July of 2023. Recall that in June of same year that I was in the Senate. So these projects, if they are correct, would have been awarded while I was a governor, not as  a minister. Number two, in June I was in the Senate. In July, I was in the Senate. Up to 20th August I was in the Senate.

"However, there are issues. When a contractor has done his or her work, the money becomes his money. He can say, pay it to this bank, pay it to that bank. And so, they are being very mischievous. If they are asking whether the job was done, that is the only right they have. But they don't have the right to say where a contractor will say his money will be paid. And so whether he is paid via a micro finance bank or macro finance bank, without prejudice to the fact that I don't have the facts about the jobs, they have no right to say it was paid into a micro finance. 

Umahi, a straightforward personality in his relationship with people, said: "The right thing to do is to go and verify if the jobs were done. If the jobs were done, then it doesn't matter where the money was paid to. It is just a distraction."

The Minister accused some of the bad contractors using them to fight back.

"I refuse to be distracted. The jobs were never awarded by me. Payments were not done by me. And even if they were done by me; if the jobs were done and the certificates generated and then deployed to the platform and it was appropriated and money was released against project, then they have no right to question where it was paid." Engr Umahi stated.

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