Reps give Akpabio 48hrs to publish names of lawmakers with contract in NDDC

By AdvocateNews on 22/07/2020

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Speaker, House of Representatives,  Femi Gbajabimila
Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabimila

Following his Monday’s accusation that the bulk of contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) went to members of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives has given the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, 48 hours to publish names of the lawmakers that benefited.

The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabimila, gave the ultimatum at plenary on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that the minister should publish the names of the companies, the amounts the contracts were awarded, the location of the projects and every other detail of payments.

Gbajabimila warned that failure to publish the details of contracts awarded to lawmakers would attract the full weight of the law.

This ruling was sequel to a point of order raised by the Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta), on the floor of the green chambers.

At an investigative hearing on the alleged misappropriation of funds amounting to N40 billion in the NDDC, Akpabio had said that 60 per cent of contracts in the commission were awarded to lawmakers.

Gbajabimila said that Akpabio was just playing one of the oldest games in the book by throwing a baseless accusation to cause distractions.

According to him, "this is my fifth time in the house and I have never benefited from any contract and it is so for many of us here."

He said that ahead of the probe, the Chairman of the Committee on NDDC, Rep. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ondo), was accused of collecting contracts without documents to back it up.

Gbajabimila recalled that Tunji-Ojo stepped aside as a result of the accusation, and when asked at the probe Akpabio denied knowledge of any of such contract awarded to the Chairman.

He said that such practices would not be allowed to stand in the legislature.

Meanwhile, a group, Southern Nigeria Peoples Mandate (SNPM), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a judicial panel of inquiry into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The president of the group, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, made this call in a statement issued in Enugu on Tuesday.

The statement was a reaction to the alleged financial misappropriation in the commission.

Chukwudum noted that the panel should do an in-depth investigation of the management of NDDC, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and members of the House of Representatives, who were accused by the minister of getting contracts from the commission.

“We are making this clarion call on President Buhari because Nigerians have lost confidence with the house committee on NDDC that is probing the alleged looting.

“They cannot be judge in a case they are directly involved and have serious questions to answer,’’ he said.

The SNPM leader noted that it was regrettable to see the level of infrastructure decay and non-availability of social amenities in the Niger Delta region despite trillions of naira pumped into the commission.

“It is also regrettable that some sons and daughters of the region were appointed to better the living condition of their people, instead they were allegedly depriving the people of their right,’’ he said.

Chukwudum noted that it was time for Buhari to prove to the world that his anti-corruption war was never selective, adding, “this is why he must sack the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio and the NDDC management’’.

“We also commend Chris Ekiyor, who exposed the alleged looting in the NDDC. We want to assure Ekiyor that every Nigerian is standing behind him,’’ he added.

Posted 22/07/2020 04:35:20 AM


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