N81.5bn fraud: Reps Insist Akpabio must publish names of Legislatures involved in NDDC contracts

Akpabio had claimed during an investigative hearing that most of the NDDC contracts were dominated by some members of the National Assembly.
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Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives demanded that Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio must publish names of lawmakers allegedly benefitting from contract racketeering in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

Akpabio had claimed during an investigative hearing that most of the NDDC contracts were dominated by some members of the National Assembly.

Against this background, Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, had given Akpabio 48 hours to publish the names.

According to the order, Akpabio wrote a letter to the Speaker in which he named several lawmakers who allegedly benefited from contract racketeering by NDDC.

Any of the lawmakers named in Akpabio 's letter have denied NDDC involvement.

James Manager, Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District, who declined to profit from the NDDC contract had threatened legal action for his name being included.

However, a statement by House of Representatives spokesperson Benjamin Kalu described the letter from the Minister as a deflection from the ongoing probe that Nigerians should ignore.

Kalu revealed that the minister exonerated the 9th National Assembly in his letter to Gbajabiamila of any participation in the racketeering deal of NDDC.

The Statement reads:

“Nigerians encouraged to ignore the deflections and query ₦81.5billion spent by IMC

“The Minister claimed under oath that 60% of all the NDDC projects under investigation were awarded to members of the House between the months of January and May 2020.

“Following this disturbing allegation, the leadership of the 9th House issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Minister to publish a list of the legislators allegedly awarded 60% of the entire projects of NDDC between January and May 2020.

“Instead of publishing the list for the world to see in the interest of transparency, the Minister in his usual diversionary tactics, chose to send an irrelevant 8-paragraph private letter to the Speaker regarding projects of 2018 which pre-date the 9th House of Representatives

“The House, therefore, reiterates that the Minister was given an ultimatum to publish names and not to write a personal letter to the Speaker. The Honourable Minister is hereby cautioned to desist from spinning tales and is invited to go public as instructed.

“Nevertheless, it will interest Nigerians to know that paragraph 3 of the Minister’s letter fully exonerated the 9th Assembly. Also, in paragraph 7, the Minister completely withdrew his previous statement about 60% of the NDDC projects being awarded to members of the 9th Assembly.”

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