The Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition (NDRC) has raised the alarm over the alleged attempt by the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswil Akpabio and the NDDC interim management committee (IMC) to frustrate the pending probe by the Senate and the House of Representatives by resorting to blackmail through various means.
However, the Acting Executive Director of Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Dr Cairo Ojougboh has said that the Senate Probe of alleged 40bn Spending by the Commission (NDDC) will vindicate the former Akwa-Ibom Government Sen Godswill Akpabio and the Interim Management Committee put in place by President Mohamadu Buhari to oversee the Commission while the forensic audit lasted.
Dr Ojougboh, in a statement by Justice Ovuokeroye the National Coordinator Ojougboh Media Campaign Team, noted that findings of the probe will link and expose saboreurs behind fraudulent act of acquiring massive wealth with NDDC funds, which was made for overall development of the Region, adding that the truth would unveils it’s self following Senate action instituted Adhoc Committee to probe an alleged fraud of N40 billion in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), pointing out that the investigation will expose faces behind the years of underperformance of the Commission.
According to Comrade Alalibo Demiebi George, the National Coordinator of the NDRC, the duo were allegedly sponsoring abusive stories in online and conventional media through groups and individuals like one Comrade Prince Kpokpogri of Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum.
He said Kpokpogri, a self-styled anti-graft campaigner, had said during a media briefing that the impending National Assembly probe of Akpabio and the IMC was ‘chasing shadows, and praised Akpabio and said the IMC was the best thing that has happened to the NDDC since inception.
According to George, Kpokpogri’s claims that the National Assembly probe into the operations of the IMC was an unnecessary distraction; and that even if the IMC had spent N40 billion it was justified and should not be an issue, given the Covid-19 pandemic, gave him away as “pro-corruption man”
He said “Indeed, it has become a regular feature that since the Senate and the House of Representatives decided to take up their constitutional oversight duties by setting up committees to probe the reports of fraudulent contracts and payments, estimated at N40 billion, perpetrated by Akpabio and the IMC in the NDDC in the last few months, fictitious groups, individuals and public relations butterflies have flooded the public space in a desperate bid by the minister and the IMC to blackmail the National Assembly and stifle the probe.
“These faceless persons and groups have concocted tales that the investigation of the corruption allegations against Akpabio and the IMC is an attack on the Niger Delta, NDDC and the anti-corruption posture of the Buhari regime. More laughable is the claim that the demand to probe the payments by the minister and the IMC is in opposition to the forensic audit of the NDDC. They cannot be farther from the truth.
“The truth is that the demand for a forensic audit was made by Niger Deltans long before Akpabio became minister, all the while when he was part of the fraudulent cabal that ran the NDDC through proxies. Having been appointed Minister of Niger Delta, he quickly latched onto that groundswell to hijack the NDDC. Now, having hijacked the NDDC he is desperate to stave off any probe of his actions by blackmailing anyone and everyone who raises the allegations of fraud against him, such that the forensic audit has become a cover-up for looting. It has even got to the very frightening level that thugs and so-called militants are threatening to go after those exposing Akpabio and the IMC corruption. In all of this, the point to be considered, and which bothers true activists and citizens of the Niger Delta, is the one succinctly made by Hon. Peter Akpatason, Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives in moving the motion for the investigation, when he said: “The House is also concerned that the forensic audit for which the Interim Management Committee was set up is most likely to become a conduit for forensic looting.” George said
He wondered why Akpabio and the IMC were afraid of a probe if indeed their hands were clean?
The national coordinator of the NDRC said Niger Deltans cannot be fooled into believing that the minister and the IMC members are saints who are above board, knowing the corruptive tendencies of some of them and what they know of Akpabio, whose multi-billion naira EFCC corruption case is well known.
The group urged the National Assembly to be steadfast and not be blackmailed by the distractions which do not represent the views of the Niger Delta people.