Monday, July 27, 2020 9:04 am
…As National Youth Council of Nigeria accuses Gbajabiamila of cover up, demands his resignation
Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, has come out with the names of National Assembly members who allegedly received contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In a video that went viral on social media, Akpabio revealed that many national legislators benefited from NDDC contracts, a claim which the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila asked him (Akpabio) to prove. He was actually shouted down during his presentation: “Honorable Minister, it’s ok, it’s ok”. It became a didactic refrain that week.
Solomon Adodo, President of National Youth Council of Nigeria, presented Akpabio’s letter containing details of the indicted lawmakers to the media on Sunday, 26 July in Abuja.
The names of legislators was contained in a letter written by Akpabio to the National Assembly and released to the public. Akpabio listed Senator Peter Nwaoboshi’s name against 53 projects which included emergency repairs of Asue Street, Owa Phase 2, emer Road via Ojemaye, emergency repairs of Otolokpo College Road, Otolokpo, and emergency repairs of Idumuogbe and Ishu Ani Ukwu Road, Issele-Uku.
“They also included emergency repairs of old Sapele Agbor Road, Obiaruku; emergency repairs of Ehwerhe Obada Road, Agbarho Road; emergency repairs of Hon. Ifeanyi Eboigbe Street, Boji Boji Owa/Goodwill Street, Owa Alero, and emergency repairs of Ahiama Okwu to Obuocha Okwu, among others.
“Also the minister listed (Hon. Nicholas) Mutu’s name against 74 projects which included various emergency road projects in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayela, and Rivers states.
“Other lawmakers that Akpabio listed projects against are Senator Matthew Urhoghide (6), James Manager (6), Sam Anyanwu (19), and others simply identified as Ondo and Edo reps.”
Adodo while presenting Akpabio’s letter to journalists said: “Mr. Speaker did not do us justice when he did not disclose to the National Assembly that the list of the beneficiaries he demanded had been disclosed and attached to the letter sent to him.
“Gbajabiamila’s decision to cover up his colleagues is unfair to the fight against corruption, quest for transparency, and to the commonwealth of our nation.
“We, therefore, urge Mr. Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to resign for covering up for a set of people who had erred and breached the rules of contract.
“All the National Assembly members who benefitted from the contracts without executing them should be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to those who may want to follow a similar path.
“It is a clear case of organised crime to have individuals who benefitted from illegality now rising to probe the fact that their illegality is being exposed.”
He added: “We call on all the anti-graft agencies and security agencies to, in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, immediately proceed and go ahead with their investigation of the matter.”
The youths said they were firmly in support of the forensic audit instituted by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs because it had exposed those who had benefitted in the corruption that had festered in the NDDC.
In the document displayed by the youths council, Akpabio was quoted as having said that his letter became necessary because “the investigating committee on NDDC refused and/or neglected to give me the opportunity to explain that reference to most NDDC contracts yearly being awarded since 2001 from the records allegedly to members of the National Assembly in both chambers were done without the knowledge of the alleged beneficiaries”.
Akpabio added: “However, the two chairmen of the committees in both chambers had adequate knowledge.”
Meanwhile, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi in a swift reaction challenged the minister to publish the names of directors of the companies that got the contracts.
“Akpabio is a confused man. NDDC used N39 million to launder his image. Let him not divert attention from the N81 billion they shared in NDDC”, he said.