Like a loose cannon, the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Monday looked the 9th National Assembly of the Federal republic of Nigeria eye-ball-to-eye-ball and accused them of being the greatest beneficiaries of all contracts that are awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Akpabio while responding to questions from the House of Representatives’ Ad hoc Committee investigating the activities of the agency did not stop at that massive accusation, he told one of the female members of the committee and a serving member of the National Assembly to ask her chairman if she does not know.
The former Akwa Ibom governor who prides himself as an ‘uncommon’ transformer who would not be stopped by continual slamming of the gavel by the committee chairman said, “Who are even the greatest beneficiaries of the contracts? It’s you people at the National Assembly.”
That bare-faced accusation infuriated one of the members who sought further explanation from Akpabio when she asked Akpabio, “Can I ask you a question? What is the National Assembly benefiting from NDDC?”
Akpabio responded, “I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly, but you don’t know about it. The two chairmen can explain to you. I was a member of the NDDC committee, so I know about it.
“We cannot close down NDDC because of the fact that we are doing (a) forensic audit. The NDDC plays a vital role in ensuring peace and security of the region and 90 per cent or more of the resources of the country come from there. If you close it down in totality, all you will have is chaos. You will have a lot of, not just militancy, you will have a lot of insurrection.
“So, it is important that people who have gone to court, people who genuinely did jobs should be paid for their jobs…How I wish this probe had been done before now, we would not have been in this mess we are in now. I want to state emphatically that no N40 billion was missing. Nothing was paid to the minister and no contract was given to the minister. You would have asked me to speak first before the acting MD who fainted. Maybe he would have had enough time to take fresh air,” the rampaging minister said sarcastically.