…as PDP demand he resigns
Joy Nunieh, former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, has exposed the escapades of Godswill Akpabio, the minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, at the commission, which is under his the supervision of his ministry.
Speaking to journalists on Monday in a video that has gone viral, Nunieh presented graphic details of how Akpabio, a former Senator and governor of Akwa Ibom State, uses a staff of the commission to defraud the government while standing aloof.
“Akpabio never signs any document. He will always refuse to sign anything but he will tell you to go and commit fraud,” she said.
Also, the main opposition People’s Democratic Party has asked the minister to resign following the revelations, to allow for a smooth investigation into the allegations.
She said Akpabio sacked her because she did not do his bidding.
The former chief executive of the commission said that nobody makes any payment in NDDC without Godswill Akpabio’s approval.
On her day of the inauguration, she said that Akpabio told her: “Madam MD, if you do not do what I say, the same pen that I used to sign your letter of appointment, it will be the same letter that I will use to remove”.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP said that “the silence and inaction by the Buhari Presidency and the APC since the uncovering of the fraud in the NDDC signpost complicity at the highest levels as well as validate public stance that treasury looting and cover-up for corrupt persons are normal official statecraft and manifesto of the APC and the Buhari administration.”
She said that Akpabio told her was that when she got to Port Harcourt (where NDDC is based), the first thing she should do was to change the dollars in the NDDC account. She said she was “scared to do that”.
She also disclosed how Akpabio pressured her to send on compulsory leave the head of the Legal Department, as well as the directors who did take his instructions of Nunieh’s predecessor in office.
Nunieh also described how the minister tried to compel her to implicate a Senator.
“He came also with a draft letter (which I submitted) that I should write and put it on my letter head, implicating Senator Nwaobuoshi for collecting contracts from the. NDDC.
I told him that I would not do that. I am a lawyer and whoever alleges this must prove.”
“He said I was ungrateful.
While she refused to write the letter, Nunieh said that Dr Cairo (Ojougbo), Executive Director for Projects at the commission, offered to do the letter.
According to her, Dr. Cairo (Ojougbo) said that “If Akpabio asked him to kill, he would kill before he asks why he should kill.”
She said that Akpabio in one instance asked her to raise an emergency contract for flood victims, and wanted her to take an oath, an event which she said the minister has denied.
“But I want to say it today. He told me up to three times. We had a reconciliation meeting in the house of Mr Sariki Abba, who is the SA to the president on Domestics.,” she said.
According to Nuhieh, Akpabio insisted at that meeting that the only condition for a reconciliation was for her to take the oath, which she refused.
“He said he was going to remove me. He started a campaign of calumny against me. I did not answer him,” she said.
She also described how the minister made a false presentation over a procurement, to the Federal Executive Council, which is usually presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I refused to go with him to go and deceive Mr. President at the FEC because the procurement act says that if you contravene any section of the Procurement Act, it is at least five years’ imprisonment without the option of a fine,” said the former commission’s boss.
“I am challenging him today,” she said.
PDP’s statement further reads:
“Nigerians are still in a state of shock over reports of how the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio allegedly bullied officials to pillage the Commission’s foreign currency account; how the laid down procedures of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) are allegedly circumvented to siphon unapproved budgets as well as how innocent workers and federal legislators, who are averse to corrupt practices, were victimized, implicated and even harassed with fetish practices.”
“The allegation by the former NDDC MD that a certain NDDC top notch said he can kill if Senator Akpabio asks him to do so, shows the level of recklessness and the victimization in MDAs under the APC rule.
“Nigerians will recall that our party had in April, alerted of massive looting in the NDDC and called for an investigation, which was however not addressed by the government.
“Our party had also alerted that the NDDC management has not been able to give a cogent explanation to the reported Lassa fever contract fraud through which over N4 billion naira NDDC fund was alleged to have been frittered on hazy procurement deals.
“This is in addition to the alleged N5.5 billion COVID-19 scandal which trails reports that the NDDC had already spent over N1.045 billion purportedly for supply of kits and palliatives to Nigerians in nine states.
“The PDP holds that any credible administration like the one the APC and the Buhari Presidency would want Nigerians to believe as running would have spoken out and commenced an immediate investigation into the matter if its officials are not complicit.”