Akpabio given 48 hours to name lawmakers awarded NDDC contract

Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday asked the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to between 24 hours to 28 hours, name members of the National Assembly who have taken contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission.

This is just as the House said the acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof Daniel Pondei, who collapsed on Monday, was fit to be re-invited by the panel.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the plenary on Tuesday, challenged Akpabio to provide a list of the affected lawmakers or the House would invoke “the full wrath of the law” against the minister.

Gbajabiamila issued the threat following a point of order raise by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, in plenary, that the allegation made by Akpabio on Monday while appearing before the House Committee on NDDC infringed on his personal privileges.

Elumelu also called for another invitation of Pondei so that “the MD continues to appear in continuation of his investigation.”

Gbajabiamila said, “Now that we know that he is out of hospital… the committee has the absolute right to re-invite him for further questioning, if the committee so chooses that they need him. That is my ruling on that.”

The Speaker asked the Clerk to the House, Patrick Giwa, to write Akpabio to Akpabio details of the contracts awarded to members of the House, especially in the current 9th Assembly.

He said, “On the second issue of the Minister of Niger Delta, it is indeed disturbing… This is my fifth term here, I have never once collected anything for the National Assembly, and I know I speak for a great majority of members of this House, and because of that, I will take this matter, allegation and accusation very seriously. I will give the minister 24 to 48 hours.

“Clerk, I want you to back this up with a letter from this House. Give the minister 24 to 48 hours to publish the names, the contracts given; the dates, amounts and every single particular detail – because obviously these things will be documented – unveil the companies with 60 per cent projects that were given to members of the National Assembly, failing which this House will bring the full wrath of the law – there are laws in our books – for defamation.”