- Femi Gbajabiamila has been accused of shielding members alleged to be beneficiaries of the NDDC contracts
- The allegations were made by the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives
- Kingsley Chinda, the leader of the PDP caucus, expressed concerns over the recent events, particularly the NDDC probe
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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives, is claiming that the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, is shielding members alleged to be beneficiaries of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts.
According to BusinessDay, the legislators called on Gbajabiamila to stop what they have described as a slide into a new low in terms of credibility and integrity of the House in the eyes of the public.
The PDP caucus in a letter signed by its leader, Kingsley Chinda, expressed concerns over recent happenings in the lower chamber, particularly as they concern the NDDC probe and other similar endeavours.
The letter addressed to the speaker, also made reference to the NDDC public hearing where the minister of Niger Delta affairs, Godswill Akpabio, made allegations against some members of the National Assembly and the chairman was heard telling him to stop as a way of covering up the wrongdoings by lawmakers.
Gbajabiamila was also accused by the opposition's caucus of reading one part of Akpabio’s response to the 48-hour ultimatum, thereby leaving out portions containing the list of contractor-lawmakers who have allegedly benefitted from NDDC contracts.
The letter reads in part: “We are burdened to write this open letter of appeal to you to take urgent steps to address the eroding credibility of the House of Representatives. Of course, as one of the longest-serving legislators, you are aware that the Hous of Representatives has faced several challenges since 1999, chief among them is getting the public to repose confidence in it and believe in the integrity of its members and leadership.
“The sound bites from the investigative hearings undertaken by the Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC), have not only undermined the House of Representatives, but have also posed bad portents to the institution of the National Assembly.”
The PDP caucus urged Gbajabiamila to allow an independent investigative panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe allegations leveled by the minister.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Akpabio revealed the names of some senators who allegedly got contracts from the NDDC.
The minister disclosed the names in a document attached to his response to the threat by the House of Representatives to sue him over the allegations that federal lawmakers were the major contractors of NDDC.
The minister said four senators have received contracts from the commission between 2017 to date.
Akpabio also alleged that the former chairman, House of Representatives committee on the NDDC, Nicholas Mutu, is linked with 74 projects which included various emergency road projects in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Rivers states.
In a related development, NDDC has thrown its weight behind Akpabio's claims that some senators benefitted from the agency's contracts.
Backing the allegations of the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, the NDDC's director of corporate affairs, Charles Odili, said that the list of National Assembly members submitted by Akpabio as awardees of juicy contracts is authentic.
Odili said that the interim management committee of the commission is aware and in support of the said list which is now in the possession of forensic auditors.
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