By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has
dared the senate to probe the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of
the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over an alleged spending
of N40 billion within the last three months without recourse to due
In a statement signed by Anietie Ekong, the Chief Press Secretary to
the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, said Senator Akpabio is upbeat
about the plan to probe the NDDC as he has no skeleton in his
‘’ In fact, he will welcome a public hearing beamed live for all
Nigerians to see. The probe of the Commission along with the ongoing
forensic audit will expose those who have used their exalted positions
over the years to fleece the NDDC through fully paid contracts which
were never executed and other forms of contact racketeering’’.
While denying the allegation, Akpabio said he was miffed by
sensational headlines about an alleged N40 billion corruption in the
He said that under his supervision as the minister in charge of the
commission, there has been no corruption within it.
According to Ekong, ‘’It is obvious that there have been an upsurge
in attacks on the Commission, the Interim Management Committee and the
Honourable Minister through spurious and unsubstantiated allegations
since the commencement of forensic audit of the Commission.
Unfortunately, these phantom allegations have found their ways into
the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly.
‘’In response to the campaign of calumny, the Commission had
explained that the Interim Management Committee has only approved the
total payment of N18 billion for contractual claims.
‘’The payments to contractors are all payments for contracts awarded
by previous administrations, especially the payment for contracts
below N50 million. The present management has not awarded any single
contract. So where is the bogey N40 billion coming from?
‘’It is instructive that the Commission under the supervision of
Senator Akpabio has devised a strategy by which only duly verified and
inspected contracts with photo and video evidences are recommended and
approved for payments.
‘’The Interim Management Committee has been very prudent in managing
the affairs of the interventionist agency’’.
Meanwhile, Ekong said the interest of Senator Akpabio has been to
ensure that the NDDC completes its headquarters building started since
the days of the defunct Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development
Commission (OMPADEC), the contract of which was awarded with the
approval of the Federal Executive Council many years before Senator
Akpabio became the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
‘’Following the recent Presidential approval, the NDDC is also
providing intervention support to complement efforts of the Federal
and State governments against further spread of COVID-19 in the nine
states of the Niger Delta’’.
While doubting whether senate can muster courage to proceed on the
probe, he however decried the dragging of Senator Akpabio’s name to
the mud by making the spurious allegations
‘’While we await the probe if carried through, we find it extremely
insulting for Senator Akpabio’s name to be dragged into what is
obviously a smear campaign.
‘’The general public should not be misled by spurious claims. The NDDC
under the supervision of Senator Akpabio will not be distracted,
neither will the ongoing forensic audit of the Commission be derailed
through blackmail and intimidation.
‘’The Minister will remain focused on the mandate of President
Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the Commission for sustainable
development of the Niger Delta region’’.