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National Assembly must ensure Nunieh’s safety, says Wike

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• ‘Buhari gave me a mandate to transform Niger Delta’
• A’Ibom APC stakeholders attack PDP over Akpabio

The Rivers State government has advised the National Assembly to ensure that the former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Joi Nunieh, was not victimised while probing the commission. It said that it has viewed with concern how Nunieh’s name was dragged into the scam in the commission.

It would be recalled that Nunieh and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godwill Akpabio, have been engaged in fierce alternation over s why she was removed as the acting managing director of the intervention agency.

Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said the state government was concerned about the unfolding situation in the NDDC and has therefore urged those involved in the ongoing investigations to ensure Nunieh does not suffer any harm in the course of their undertakings.

Besides, Akpabio has promised the people of the region that he was committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari to replicate his achievements as governor of Akwa Ibom State in the oil-rich region.

Akpabio traced the underdevelopment of the region to endemic corruption adding that President Buhari is determined to wipe out the rot when he approved a forensic audit of all allocated finances and government projects in the region.

Akpabio who was a former minority leader in the Senate before being appointed a Minister, spoke to Journalists in Abuja, while reacting to questions on recent developments in his ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission,.

As a former governor and senator, Akpabio said that he was not happy with the state of infrastructure in the Niger Delta, particularly road projects and emphasized the need for roads in the region to be well constructed.

While maintaining his commitment to transform the region, he outlined some of his expectation of the NDDC to include setting up an NDDC Specialist Hospital, employment of youths and former militants, good road network and a peaceful region.

Meanwhile, Akpabio has received the support of the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The party stakeholders in the state have also lambasted the Peoples Democratic (PDP) for asking the minister to step down over an alleged financial scam in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The party supporters pledged their support to the minister in a communiqué signed by Dr Emaeyak Ukpong, the former House of Representatives member,; Obongawan Geraldine Etuk, Treasurer; National Council of Women Societies; Mr. Enobong Umoetuk, Mr Victor Antai, and Mr. Etim Etim and made available to newsmen in Uyo yesterday.The group said that the minister be absolved of any acts of sleaze in the NDDC.

It stated: “We condemn in its entirety the malicious, noxious and reprehensible statement issued by the PDP yesterday calling on Senator Akpabio to be suspended from office due to the probe of the National Assembly.

“We wish to state categorically that the rot corruption and waste(s) of resources in the NDDC were recorded mostly during the 16 years of the PDP governments in the country.

“The PDP governments (1999 – 2015) in the country also frittered away our resources in various corrupt schemes, instead of investing in critical infrastructure and amenities in the country.

“The nation was therefore plunged into deep economic depression and social dislocations before President Buhari took over on 29 May 2015.

“The huge financial resources and assets recovered from corrupt officials of the past PDP governments in the country attest to the depth of savagery and plunder the nation suffered in 16 years.

“Senator Akpabio has only been the Supervising Minister of NDDC for less than one year. Within this time, he has worked with the Management of the Commission to complete its new head office building which had been under construction for 20 years, and is working on the forensic audit of the Commission which the President ordered”.

The group stated that Akpabio should not be held responsible for the rot of the last 20 years which the forensic audit is intended to unravel.

“We are convinced that all the controversies surrounding the forensic audit of the NDDC are coming from persons who had perpetrated or participated in this lucre during the dark days of the PDP.

“Their goal is to compel the President to disband the interim management of the NDDC and discontinue with the audit. This much was made known by the immediate past Acting MD of the Commission, Ms Joi Nunieh, in her TV interview on Monday, 13 July 2020.

“We respectfully call on President Buhari to continue to be resolute in his determination to conduct the forensic audit in the NDDC and reposition the Commission for the benefit of the people of our region”, they said.


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