Members of the Niger Delta Ijaw Development and Response Assembly (NDIDRA), read with dismay, the scanty rebuttal of corruption allegations levelled against Chief Godswill Akpabio, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs and the supervising Minister of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the spokesperson of the Commission, acting on the prompting of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) in “The Nation” Online, on The 5th Of April 2020; regarding Chief Akpabio’s activities in the Commission.
It was a failed attempt to distract the public from the fact that Chief Akpabio is sucking the NDDC dry and causing untold hardship on the Niger Delta people.
We state emphatically that the corruption allegations against Chief Godswill Akpabio are factual, backed with documentary evidence, if the Nigerian anti-corruption agencies care to investigate him. We also urge the general public to avail itself of these facts because both oral and documentary evidences are readily available in the public domain.
While we sympathize with members of the current IMC in their worthless attempts to exonerate themselves from the ongoing rot in the NDDC, it is suffice to say that they cannot defend the corrupt practices of Chief Godswill Akpabio since he became the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs and the supervising Minister of the NDDC. We also want to remind them that they are also complicit in the ongoing rot in the NDDC and their shameful attempt to coverup Akpabio’s loot only has them dipping their hands in deeper.
For the avoidance of doubt, we have stated here again some of the specific corruption allegations we made in our previous publications for the Federal Government, its anti-corruption agencies and the general public to take note of.
1. The establishment of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) is itself a corrupt effort perpetrated by Chief Godswill Akpabio. It is an aberration and must be scrapped.
Mr. President must reconstitute the NDDC Board without further delay.
2. Mr. President ordered the forensic audit to take place in the Commission on the 17th of October 2019. It is 6 months now, and still counting. What has taken place since then? Who are the auditors appointed to carry out the forensic audit? Why are they afraid to carry out the forensic audit? The Niger Delta people will like to know.
3. The amount to complete the permanent Headquarters of the NDDC located along Eastern By-pass, Port Harcourt, was pegged at N6b by the NDDC Engineers empanelled to cost the project but the contract was awarded to Rodnab Construction Ltd at the cost of N16b. Does this not amount to contract inflation?
4. In the middle of this Coronavirus lockdown, Chief Akpabio and his IMC puppets are operating from Golden Tulip Hotel Port Harcourt, making payments to their cronies with phoney contracts to make sure they empty the treasury before normalcy returns.
The complete contract sum of N16b has now been paid to Rodnab Construction Ltd while the project is less than 70% complete. Does government in Nigeria now make full payment and issue certificate of completion of a contract that is yet to be completed?
5. Since 2016 under the leadership of Nsima Ekere as the Managing Director, the Commission has been awash with contracts for clearing Water Hyacinths, Emergency Projects and River De-silting. Chief Godswill Akpabio is a major beneficiary of these contracts. Are you also denying that fact?
6. The sum of N65b has been paid for clearing of Water Hyacinths. Chief Godswill Akpabio received N1.9b and N700m within two weeks interval on assumption of office and is processing additional N30b payment for the same non-existent jobs.
7. Chief Akpabio received N4b payment for supply of Lassa fever equipments that were never supplied.
8. Chief Akpabio sponsored militants to attack oil installations in Bayelsa State and paid them N100m. This was to put pressure on Dr. Joy Nunieh to pay some of the phoney contracts belonging to him and his cohorts. The N100m was released to the militants through Rodnab Construction Ltd’s Zenith Bank account on the 10th of Feb.
9. The NDDC spokesperson was silent on Emergency contracts in his response to our publication. 80% of recent payments were for Emergency Jobs, one of the three ways the Commission is defrauded. The other two are Water Hyacinth and River De-silting. 20% of recent payments made by the present IMC cover these two fraud infested areas.
10. In the matter of staff redeployment, the Commission re-deployed, in some cases, four Directors from the Headquarters to one State office where only one Director is needed. Junior personnel, with little or no experiences, have taken the positions of these Directors so that Chief Akpabio can have unfettered access to the Commission’s treasury.
Finally, it is worthy to state that the members of the NDIDRA are not contractors to NDDC and have not benefitted either directly or indirectly from the NDDC. We therefore do not have pecuniary interest or seeking attention as alleged by the spokesperson of the Commission.
We however wish to state that we have a stake in this legacy and will defend it at all cost. A majority of those who fought for the creation of the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) and the present NDDC are angered by what is going on and have vowed to resist a further degeneration of the situation. The NDIDRA will continue to release the FACTS to destroy all attempts to mislead our people with their lies. This should therefore serve as a call on President Buhari to sack and investigate Akpabio and also for the forensic auditors to commence work immediately but most not be under the supervision of Chief Akpabio or else we will use other means available to us to stop our common patrimony squandered in this manner