By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has refuted claims that he was involved in alleged hijack of a maritime contract at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), a parastatal under my supervision, stating, “I am not involved in any (maritime) contract mess.”
To unravel the truth, “I have requested appropriate security and law enforcement agencies to expeditiously investigate the content of the misleading publications so that the peddlers of fake and malicious news will be made to face the law,” a statement from his media aide Tuesday quoted him to say.
Describing the allegations as “nothing but a smear campaign orchestrated to tarnish my reputation and undermine my work as the Minister of Transportation,” he insisted that since assuming office in July 2022, his focus has been to meet the high expectations of stakeholders in the transportation sector.
To that end, “I have always acted with honesty, integrity and transparency, in accordance with the law and public interest.
“Surprisingly, the news outlets that carried the false report relied on anonymous sources, fabricated documents and distorted facts to create a narrative that suits their agenda or that of their sponsors.
“They not only violated the core ethics of journalism and the principles of fair hearing but have shown contempt for the truth, objective journalism and balanced reportage.”
According to him, “it is even more laughable for anyone to think that just one man will sit back to award contracts of such a humungous amount. The contract awarding process in the country is quite complex for manipulation.
“These purveyors of falsehood forget that contract awards under our extant laws and regulations involve rigorous due process, diligence and authorisations by different agencies and levels of government, such as the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) and the Federal Executive Council (FEC), among others.”
He attributed the allegation to persons intimidated by his achievements in the ministry within a short time, therefore “their desperation to drag us in the mud. They are out to use me to chase clout.
“It is expected that with the transition to a new government, these persons and/or groups may want to target me as a basis to curry favour or seek relevance. Who is indeed afraid of Mu’azu Jaji Sambo?”
Against this suspicion, he urged the public to be warry of the propaganda, insisting that under his leadership, “this ministry has executed initiatives to improve the country’s maritime domain as well as the mobility and safety of Nigerians.
“We have also promoted innovation, sustainability and social inclusion in the transport sector.”
Going forward, he assured that he would continue to serve the nation with dedication and commitment till he exits office, and would remain a loyal and law-abiding Nigerian even out of office, without intimidation or distraction “by these false accusations, which only seek to divert attention.”
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