Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, has met with some stakeholders in the National Assembly over the ongoing investigation of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Akpabio had a series of meetings with the acting Clerk to the National Assembly, Olatunde Ojo; and Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, in their respective offices in the National Assembly complex on Tuesday.
Both the Senate and the House are investigating the alleged illegal spending and mismanagement of N81.5bn by the NDDC under Akpabio’s supervision as minister.
The committee had only laid its interim report in which it indicted Akpabio and the NDDC management, while the House had resolved that the panel continues with probe and present a comprehensive report.
However, Akpabio had during the investigative panel hearing the House of Representatives alleged that the NDDC awarded 60 per cent of its contracts to National Assembly members.
Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, had challenged the minister to provide evidence.
Akpabio subsequently named some members, but the lawmakers had denied the projects listed against their names.
Asked by journalists after the meeting with the National Assembly clerk on whether he came to submit proof of his allegation, Akpabio said that was not the demand of Gbajabiamila.
He said: “No, no, no, you are wrong. That was not what the Honourable 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’m hearing it from you.”
When asked if he was going to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly, apart from the committees, Akpabio said, “National Assembly is National Assembly. We must ensure that there is harmony between the legislature and the executive, and that harmony has existed. In fact, we are just talking to the Clerk of the National Assembly that today, we have a better National Assembly, by implication the Senate and House of Reps, in terms of legislative-executive harmony and cordiality.”
At about 3:25pm, the minister was at the office of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaboshi, who was not around.
Akpabio later met with chairman and some members of the House Committee on NDDC, including the spokesman for the House, Mr Benjamin Kalu. The meeting started at about 3.40pm lasted till almost 7pm.