Saturday, 5 December 2020

‘Stop Akpabio From Sinking NDDC Further’, Group Tells Buhari


A group, the Act For Positive Transformation Initiatives, has called on the Buhari led federal government to stop the minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio from “sinking” the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) “further.”

The group’s position was contained in a letter to the federal government addressed through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), dated December.

A copy of the letter which was made available to Igbere TV on Friday, in Abuja, by the group, was signed by the Head, Directorate of Research, Strategy and Planning, Kolawole Johnson.

 He warned of an alleged sinister plot by the Minister to plunge the Agency into another round of crisis for his “selfish interest” by appointing a sole-administrator to run the commission against the laws setting up the interventionist agency.”

“Reports of a certain court order ‘sacking’ the present Interim Management Committee members of the NDDC surfaced in the media on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020. It is curious to note that the said order ‘restraining the IMC members from performing the functions of the board’ of NDDC was given on the 27th day of October, 2020 but kept under wraps for over one month, only to be let out few days to the next hearing date, the group said.

“While motives remain a source of concern, ACT has, again, stumbled on a sinister plan by Senator Godswill Akpabio to surreptitiously bring in the present Acting Executive Director of Finance, Effiong Akwa, as a Sole Administrator of the commission using the suspicious judgement to pave way,” it alleged.

The group also warned that, if allowed, “this singular step shall sink the commission further and ruin the chances of rewriting the dark history of the commission under the embattled minister whose only achievement thus far has been corruption and more corruption.”

“This is against the law. Over 187 Billion Naira has so far been squandered under the Minister without anything to show for it. In an unprecedented manner, monies are moved out of the coffers of the commission for non-existing jobs, contract scams etc.
Effiong, the Ag. Executive Director of Finance, was appointed in August in a controversial circumstance.

“He was a Personal Assistant on Finance matters to a former MD of the Commission between 2013 and 2015, a period that was reportedly characterized by a mindless looting of resources of the Commission.

“The Managing Director in question, Bassey Dan-Abia, a former Commissioner in Akpabio’s cabinet in Akwa Ibom state was nominated by same Godswill Akpabio to head the commission. His tenure was heavily tainted with allegations of corruption. That has become the hallmark of Senator Godswill Akpabio wherever he goes directly or indirectly. Another Akwa-Ibom man, Nsima U. Ekere, was also sworn-in as a substantive Managing Director few months after.

“Recall, the first memo written by Akpabio few hours after resumption of office as a Minister was for the take-over of the NDDC, directly demanding the powers of the President against the position of the law. Nevertheless, he had his way. It will be unthinkable to allow him hoodwink the nation into another round of his circus to further his impunity against the law setting up the NDDC.”

The group, therefore, called for the immediate constitution of a substantive board answerable to the President and the people, “not some Akpabio’s puppets turn personal stealing machine”, insisting, this is “the only way forward.”

They called on President Buhari to “reject any maneuvering for the extension of the tenure of the present corrupt management or any attempt by the Minister to bring in a Sole Administrator,” adding, “it is not known to law.”

“There is no other better time for the National Assembly to rise in defense of its functions and our laws, the tax payers look forward to this institution for hope, if any,” the statement added.

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