The House of Representatives has given the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, 48 hours to publish names of lawmakers whom he alleged, had contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Speaker of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabimila, gave the ultimatum at plenary on Tuesday in Abuja. He said that the minister should publish the names of the companies, the amounts the contracts were awarded, the location of the projects and every other detail of payments.
The ruling was sequel to a Point of Order raised by the Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta), on the floor of the green chambers. Gbajabimila warned that failure to publish the details of contracts awarded to lawmakers would attract the full weight of the law.
At an investigative hearing on the alleged misappropriation of funds amounting to N40 billion in the NDDC, Akpabio had said 60 per cent of contracts in the commission were awarded to lawmakers.
Gbajabimila accused Akpabio of playing one of the oldest games in the book by throwing a baseless accusation to cause distractions. According to him, this is my fifth time in the House and I have never benefited from any contract and it so for many of us here.
He recalled ahead of the probe, the Chairman of the Committee on NDDC, Rep. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ondo), was accused of collecting contracts without documents to back it up.
Gbajabimila noted that Tunji-Ojo stepped aside as a result of the allegation, and when asked at the probe, Akpabio denied knowledge of any of such contract awarded to the committee chairman.
He said that such practices would not be allowed to stand in the legislature.
In a related development, a socio-political group, the Southern Nigeria Peoples Mandate (SNPM), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a judicial panel of inquiry into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In a statement on Tuesday in Enugu and signed by its president, Augustine Chukwudum, the group said the panel should do an in-depth investigation of the management of NDDC, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and members of the House of Representative, who were accused by the minister of getting contracts from the commission.
“We are making this clarion call on President Buhari because Nigerians have lost confidence with the house committee on NDDC that is probing the alleged looting. They cannot be judge in a case they are directly involved and have serious questions to answer”.
The SNPM said it was regrettable to see the level of infrastructure decay and non availability of social amenities in the Niger Delta region despite trillions of naira pumped into the commission.
“It is also regrettable that some sons and daughters of the region were appointted to better the living condition of their people, instead they were allegedly depriving the people of their right. We also commend Chris Ekiyor, who exposed the alleged looting in the NDDC. We want to assure Ekiyor that every Nigerian is standing behind him”.
Chukwudum noted that it was time for Buhari to prove to the world that his anti-corruption war was never selective, adding, “this is why he must sack the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio and the NDDC management”.