NDDC: Akpabio denies accusing NASS of contract fraud – NDDC

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THE Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godwill Akpabio, says he is ready to make peace with National Assembly.

   The former Governor of Akwa-Ibom who made the disclosure on yesterday in Abuja stated that he never accused NASS members of NDDC contract fraud.

In what seems like a retracing of steps, the NDDC helmsman shed more light on the alleged contract scam rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) but insisted he did not accuse NASS members of engaging in such contract fraud.

According the minister he did not accuse members of the National Assembly of benefiting from contracts awarded by the NDDC.

Contrary to Akpabio’s statement yesterday, the NDDC boss had in July trended in media platforms when he accused some members of the Senate and the House of Representatives of benefitting from the controversial contracts.

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Akpabio had on appearing before a commission of inquiries by the House of Representatives probing alleged mismanagement of N81.5 billion by the commission, said 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.

It will be recalled 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; accusation the federal lawmakers all denied.

In a twixt, Akpabio told newsmen after meeting with the acting clerk of the National Assembly, Olatunde Ojo, yesterday that Gbajabiamila only wanted to know whether there was undue influence from the federal lawmakers.

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“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 noted that 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. They postponed it, so I intended that as soon as the resumption takes place, I am here.

Adding, “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.

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The former minority leader said the current government wants to leave a legacy for Nigerians,

“We cannot do this if all the arms of government are not cooperating.”

It will be further recalled that a coalition of thirty civil society organisations drawn across the Niger Delta region had called on the federal government, multinational oil companies and development partners to discontinue any form of funding to the NDDC, basing their decision on what they described as massive corruption and pervasive culture of looting still going on in the NDDC.

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