NDDC: Group challenges Akpabio, Nunieh to provide evidence against senators

The South South Advancement Network has described the protest by the self-styled Civil Society Groups against the Senate Committee on NDDC as part of an “orchestrated plan by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio to perpetuate the illegal interim management committee, which Nigerians have rejected.”

In a statement signed on behalf of the group by its National President Chief Mike Okeregbe, the group said “the recent protest by the so-called Civil Society Groups headed by one Solomon Adodo at the National Assembly was nothing but a grand design to allow the lawlessness at the NDDC to continue under the guise of fighting corruption. It is clear that what is taking place is the proverbial hand of Esau with the voice of Jacob because they are executing the corrupt agenda of the minister and the illegal interim management committee (IMC) and making baseless allegations without a shred of evidence.” The group said the baseless allegations were part of a plot to “divert the attention of Nigerians from the illegality going on in the NDDC under the leadership if the interim managing director Joi Nunieh.”

It queried the claim by the protesters that the Senate NDDC Committee chairman Senator Peter Nwaoboshi was collecting N1billion monthly in addition to contracts from the commission and challenged “Senator Akpabio, Ms Nunieh and their collaborators to provide evidence of these and other spurious allegations they have made to justify their illegal actions.”

The South South group argued that the “sponsored groups working on behalf of Akpabio and Nunieh are obviously jittery by the principled position taken by the Senate position on the defence of the 2019/2020 budget of the NDDC and pleaded with the Senate to stand on the truth and the law in this matter and at all times.”

Commenting further, it said that, “While we do not contest the call to probe any Nigerian, as may be necessary, we do not see how it justifies the illegality of having an interim management committee at the NDDC when nominees for the board have been screened and confirmed.”

The SSAN said the delay in inaugurating the Senate-confirmed board has given rise to all manner of “jobbers and PR people who have been engaged to confuse the process”, and wondered how a 3-man committee handpicked by the minister can be superior to a 15-member board presented by the president and screened by the Senate.”

Okeregbe called on President Buhari to inaugurate the NDDC board and save the agency from the “unproductive controversies that have bedeviled it in recent times.”