- The minister of Niger Delta affairs, Godwill Akpabio, said he is ready to make peace with NASS
- The former governor of Akwa Ibom made the disclosure on Tuesday, September 15, in Abuja
- Akpabio, however, noted that he never accused members of NASS of NDDC contract fraud
In what seems like a retracing of steps, the minister of Niger Delta affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has shed more light on the alleged contract scam rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
TheCable reports that the minister made a U-turn on Tuesday, September 15, when he said he did not accuse members of the National Assembly of benefiting from contracts awarded by the NDDC.
Legit.ng gathered Akpabio had said in July that some members of the Senate and the House of Representatives benefitted from the controversial contracts.
Akpabio had said before the House of Representatives committee probing alleged mismanagement of N81.5 billion by the commission, that the National Assembly members were the biggest beneficiaries of contracts awarded by the commission.
The speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, however, charged him to name the lawmakers or face the “wrath of the House."
Recall that Akpabio later named the chairman of the Senate committee on NDDC, Peter Nwaoboshi, the Senate committee chairman on public accounts, Matthew Urhoghide, and the senator representing Delta South, James Manager, as some of the beneficiaries.
The federal lawmakers also all denied the allegation.
Speaking with journalists after meeting with the acting clerk of the National Assembly, Olatunde Ojo, on Tuesday, September 15, Akpabio said Gbajabiamila only wanted to know whether there was “undue influence” from the federal lawmakers.
“No, you are wrong. That was not what the speaker demanded. The speaker wanted to know whether there was undue influence from any section of the National Assembly in respect of contracts in the NDDC. He did not say whether they were contractors, so I am hearing this from you,” he said.
Akpabio said he would be back to the Assembly as soon as the lawmakers return from their recess.
“This is like homecoming and the National Assembly ought to have resumed today (Tuesday). They postponed it, so I intended that as soon as the resumption takes place, I am here.
“It is part of my effort to support the president’s decision that there must be a much more cordial relationship between the executive and legislature.
“In fact, the president recently set up a tripartite committee made up of the party (APC), the national assembly and the executive to ensure oneness because we are running one government,” he added.
The former minority leader said the current government wants to leave a legacy for Nigerians, adding that “we cannot do this if all the arms of government are not cooperating.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that a coalition of thirty civil society organisations drawn across the Niger Delta region called on the federal government, multinational oil companies and development partners to discontinue any form of funding to the NDDC.
It was reported that groups said the decision was as a result of what they described as massive corruption and pervasive culture of looting that is still going on in the NDDC.
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