The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has denied any involvement in maritime contract fraud as was widely reported on some online media platforms.
Sambo in a statement on Tuesday described the publications as false and baseless.
The Minister was reported to have allegedly involved in a hijack of a maritime contract at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), a parastatal under his supervision.
However, he said, the allegations were nothing but a smear campaign orchestrated to tarnish his reputation and undermine his work as the Minister of Transportation.
“Let me be clear: Since I assumed Office as Minister in July 2022, my focus has been to meet the high expectations of stakeholders in the transportation sector. 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.
“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 authorizations by different agencies and levels of government such as the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) among others.
“I am certain some persons are intimidated by our achievements in the Ministry within a short time, thus 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?
“Consequently, the public is urged not to fall for this propaganda. Under my 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.
“Let me emphasise that I will continue to serve this nation with dedication and commitment till I exit Office. And even out of Office, I will remain a loyal and law-abiding Nigerian. I will not be intimidated or distracted by these false accusations, which only seek to divert attention. I am not involved in any (maritime) contract mess. The public should be guided.
“Meanwhile, 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”, he said.