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.
That in and of itself is an admission of helplessness and failure by the House of Representatives. How did our democracy come to this? I have no confidence that the #NDDCHearing will lead to any criminal trial or indeed any change in how #Nigeria is run.
— Afam Udeozo (@AfamUdeozo) July 23, 2020
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.
From the president,
The justice arm,
The law enforcement,
Are all corrupt
— ojyoor (@Ojyoor) July 23, 2020
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.
Akpabia is a chronic criminal, he should have list their names. He should be arrested immediately
— Frank E (@FrankE27466303) July 23, 2020
— ITITA EKPE – Ph.D (@ItitaEkpe) July 23, 2020
Nigerians have the right to know ALL names of NDDC contractors since the establishment of the agency to date. Therefore, it would be in the general public interests to publish the names, and it would show leadership by the Ministry to combat corruption in NDDC.
— SERAP (@SERAPNigeria) July 23, 2020
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.
A dreamer, thinker, and writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya