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Reps summon Akpabio over alleged misuse of NDDC’s N81.5b

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• Nunieh Blames N’Delta People For Commission’s Failure 
• S’South Governors Back Forensic Probe

The House of Representatives, yesterday, summoned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to appear on Monday unfailingly to offer explanations over his role in the alleged misuse of the sum of N81.5 billion by the Niger Delta Development commission (NDDC).

Also summoned on the issue is the Acting Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee (IMC), Prof. Kemebeadikumo Pondei. Besides, the Managing Directors of A.H.S Global Services Limited and RODNAP are to appear alongside Akpabio and Pondei before the Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo led committee on the NDDC on Monday at 11.00a.m.

Tunji-Ojo (Ondo, APC), who expressed dissatisfaction over their absence at the investigative hearing, gave the assurance that the committee would not shy away from taking decisions required at repositioning the NDDC.

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This is as the former Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Dr. Joy Nunieh, has testified before the committee through virtual means, blaming indigenes of the Niger Delta region for the problems bedeviling the Commission over the years.

She said the conduct of the Niger Delta people and the appointees of the NDDC down to the staffers of the commission were responsible for its failure to live up to expectations.

Meanwhile, the forensic audit of the Commission ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari has received the unreserved support of the South-South Governors Forum.The forum, while declaring their support to the exercise, expressed great concern on the unnecessary crisis rocking the Commission, affirming that the audit would serve to put the NDDC on a sound corporate governance footing and reposition it to better deliver on its mandate.

Recalling her brief stint at the Commission, Nunieh said: “As soon as you are appointed into the top position of the NDDC, your people will rejoice with you; they behave as if it is their turn to eat out of the national cake.”

She denied ever converting the dollars in the coffers of the NDDC into naira in spite pressures allegedly exerted on her by Akpabio, but admitted that the NDDC spent N8 billion while she held sway between October last year and February this year.

She described the claim by Akpabio of the existence of a forensic audit of the accounts of the NDDC as a scam, saying that virtually all the firms engaged fell short of the requirement of the Public Procurement Act.

Nunieh canvassed the immediate prosecution of Akpabio for allegedly threatening her life after a failed bid to administer an oath on her in a shrine, in breach of the provisions of the Criminal Code.

Enjoining the lawmakers to exercise their oversight duties on the affairs of the NDDC, she canvassed the immediate establishment of a national procurement council headed by the Vice President with the Minister of Justice as a member, as a means of checking the rot in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies such as the NDDC.

She also canvassed the return of the NDDC to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) as against the prevailing order where the Commission is under the supervision of the Niger Delta Ministry.

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, disclosed on Thursday night in Asaba that the governors also gave full backing to the ongoing investigation of the Commission by the National Assembly.

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They, however, condemned the attempted abduction of Nunieh in the early hours of Thursday. “We believe the Senate is operating within its oversight functions through the ad hoc committee set up for that purpose. It behooves us to respect the Senate oversight function and allow it to discharge this responsibility in a fair, transparent and equitable manner.

“The South-South Governors are desirous to see an NDDC that is fully alive and responsive to its mandate of accelerating infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region and enhancing the general living conditions of our people. Hence, we will not hesitate to give our unqualified support to any policy initiative that will make this a reality,” Okowa said.

The Forum advised the combatants in the current crisis in the NDDC to refrain from utterances and actions that would breach the peace and security of the region.

“We call on relevant security authorities to investigate the unfortunate development. Let it be on record that we are neither in support of nor against Ms. Nunieh in the current cloud of controversy surrounding the NDDC.

“However, as responsible public servants and leaders in the Niger Delta, we are mindful of the implications her attempted abduction could have on the peace and security of the region, which the current administration has laboured to sustain in the last five years. We do not want that to be truncated as it can have adverse consequences on the national economy,” he said.

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