The embattled Niger Delta Minister, Sen. Godswill Akpabio has denied his previous utterance indicting members of the National Assembly in the discovered misappropriation of funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Akpabio had stated on Tuesday, July 21, when he was questioned on the mode of distribution of NDDC’s contracts, that 60% of the contracts were awarded to members of the National Assembly and that he had proofs to substantiate his claims.
Speaker of the Assembly, Femi Gbajabiamila subsequently gave him 48 hours to publish the names of the said contract awardees.
However, at the expiration of the 48-hour ultimatum, the Minister, in a letter to the National Assembly denied his pronouncement.
In the letter which was read on the floor of the House of Representatives during the Thursday, July 23 Plenary by the Speaker, Akpabio is said to have written that the only reference he made to 60 percent during his presentation before the NDDC Committee was in response to a question by a member of the Committee.
He explained further in his letter that the Member had asked to know if a Medical Director could serve as an Executive Director on Projects and that in his response, he answered that since 50 to 60 percent of NDDC contracts were medical-related, there was noting wrong in a Medical Director serving in that capacity.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has resolved to sue the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State to Court for making indicting comments against it.
“I said then that the Honourable Minister owed it to himself and the country to provide evidence to support these serious allegations. The Honourable Minister has failed to respond to my request”, Gbajabiamila started.
“Therefore, I must conclude that his statement intended solely to gaslight the nation to avoid accountability for the evident maladministration and malfeasance in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“In my time in the House of Representatives, I have held every leadership position from Minority Whip, through to Minority Leader, Leader of the House and now Speaker. I recognise that the House has not always lived up to the high expectations of the Nigerian people.
“As much as we still have a lot to do in that regard, I refuse to sit here in good conscience and allow anyone to assassinate the character of the House in an attempt to deflect accountability for their conduct in office. Such mendacity as was witnessed at the public hearing will not be tolerated from anybody no matter how highly placed.
“This morning, I asked the Clerk of the House of Representatives to engage the services of legal counsel, and instruct them to initiate a criminal complaint of perjury against the Minister. At the same time, we will instruct counsel to explore the possibility of a civil defamation suit against the Minister.
“The House of Representatives is a public trust placed in our care for the duration of our term in office. We must prove ourselves worthy of this public trust or risk the censure of history.
“Therefore, we will resist every attempt to undermine this institution, whether such attempts come from within or from outside. This House will live up to the highest expectations of the Nigerian people. This is our commitment, and we will not fail”, he concluded.