NIGER Delta minister senator Godswill Akpabio has been given 48 hours by the Federal House of Representatives to name the members of the National Assembly who he claimed are the ones getting Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts.
In what has been a dramatic 24 hours for Nigeria, the ongoing probe of the NDDC appeared to have opened a can of worms, revealing widespread corruption in the agency. Yesterday morning, the acting NDDC managing director Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei appeared to faint while being grilled by the House of Representatives on how he spent it finances and had to be led away from the hearing.
On his way out of the National Assembly complex, Professor Pondei appeared to made a miraculous recovery, however and walked to his car. As soon as that drama ended, Senator Akpabio, a former Akwa Ibom State governor and member of the senate, appeared to suggest that the National Assembly itself does not have clean hands as it members are the beneficiaries of NDDC contracts.
In a swift response, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the House of Representatives, gave Senator Akpabio 48 hours to name these lawmakers getting NDDC contracts. Hon Gbajabiamila directed the clerk of the National Assembly to send a communication to the minister today, adding that if there is no response within 48 hours, Senator Akpabio risks the full wrath of the House.
Furthermore, Hon Gbajabiamila declared that the House committee on the NDDC can summon the Professor Pondei back if it wishes so not that he has recovered. Professor Pondei was being grilled over the extra-budgetary NDDC expenditure from February this year to date and failed to provide answers to the questions before his dramatic fainting.
Hon Gbajabiamila said: “I am giving the minister 24 to 48 hours to publish the names, the contracts, the companies, date, amount and the projects. Failing which, this house will bring the full wrath of the house on him.
“It is important that we set this record straight and the minister owes it to himself, to the committee, to the people of Niger Delta and the country to publish it. I will reserve my judgement. The minister came there to play games but we do not play games here.”