NDDC: Akpabio insists on withholding documents allegedly indicting lawmakers

Although majority of Nigerians agree that corruption exists not just in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) but across the various arms of government, recent developments involving the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) appear to be putting paid to such speculations.

After weeks of mudslinging between the former Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee (IMC), Joi Nunieh and the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio on the claim of spending N1.5bn as COVID-19 palliative, raising issues on the depth of rot in the agency. A new dimension to the drama came up last week when the Minister while answering questions on the veracity of several claims of  extra-budgetary expenditure against his office, alleged that he had documents to show that 60% of contracts in the NDDC were executed by members of the National Assembly.

Slighted by the allegations and the media frenzy about the claim, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, issued a 48-hour ultimatum on Tuesday to Chief Akpabio, daring him to publish the alleged contractors within the National Assembly. At the resumption of plenary Thursday, the House directed the Clerk to issue a criminal complaint of perjury and civil defamation suit against the Minister, following the expiration of the ultimatum.

 

However, in a dramatic turn of events, Akpabio, in a letter written sent to the Green Chambers, and read on the floor by the Speaker, insisted that the two chairmen of the committee probing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), know the lawmakers who received most of the contracts given out by the commission, stressing that he never referred to members of the 9th assembly as beneficiaries of the NDDC contracts.

According to him, the 2019 budget had 19 old contracts amounting to 9 billion naira which the NDDC Committee Chairman in the House of Reps. allegedly insisted must be paid by the IMC must pay, but that he will not make the documents public

Nigerians who have reacted to the latest twists noted however, that it was nowhere shocking to them, considering how endemic the scourge of corruption is in the country but insist that the Minister must list the names of the alleged beneficiaries.

The last is yet to be heard of the the issue as the letter was handed to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges for further examination, but the latest development has expectedly sparked rage on Twitter and many look forward to the sack as well as prosecution of all culprits involved in the NDDC saga.

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