- Senator Godswill Akpabio has concluded plans to drag Joi Nunieh to court
- The minister of Niger Delta affairs says the allegation of sexual harassment against him by Nunieh is defamatory
- The minister insisted that the comments by the ex-NDDC MD are malicious and libellous
The minister of Niger Delta affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said he has instructed his lawyers to seek necessary redress in court over the recent comments of Joi Nunieh.
Nunieh, ex-acting managing director of the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), recently accused Akpabio of sexual harassment.
Akpabio said he is approaching a competent court of jurisdiction over what he described as 'defamatory statements' made by Nunieh.
In a statement signed on Friday, July 17, by his special assistant on media, Anietie Ekong, the minister described all the allegations as “cornucopia of false, malicious and libellous.”
Part of the statement read: “The honourable minister’s initial attitude was to allow his lawyers and the judicial system vindicate him of the false allegations against him, but he is compelled to react to some of the wayward allegations levied against his person by Ms Nunieh, especially the one on sexual harassment.
“To start with, let it be known that there is no scintilla of truth in all the allegations peddled around by Ms Nunieh. They are simply false! ”
Senator Akpabio had earlier denied the sexual harassment allegations against him by Nunieh.
The minister also vowed that those who looted funds meant for the NDDC will be forced to surrender their loots.
He said the era in which powerful and influential elements teamed up with staff at the NDDC to loot the intervention agency's allocation is over.
Meanwhile, a group, Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights, has expressed concern over the conduct of Nunieh.
The group said the incidences witnessed in the last few days, especially the conduct of Nunieh is “a show of shame, prompted by wild allegations.”
Similarly, Donu Kogbara, former media adviser to Nunieh has advised her former principal to take the decision to relieve her of her duties in good fate.
Kogbara, a veteran journalist, gave the advice in a statement sent to journalists on Monday, July 13, while reacting to the recent controversy involving Nunieh and Akpabio.
She said that Nunieh’s claim that Akpabio attempted to force a corruption allegation against the chairman, Senate committee on NDDC, Peter Nwaoboshi, was baseless and untrue.
According to her, her former boss was a bad loser whose attitude left much to be desired.
The NDDC is a federal government agency established by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2000 with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
In September 2008, Late President Umaru Yar'Adua announced the formation of a Niger Delta Ministry, with the Niger Delta Development Commission to become a parastatal under the ministry.
Experts say Akpabio has taken a courageous step by pushing for a forensic audit of the intervention agency.
Allegations of corruption have been the order of the day since the establishment of the commission.