The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has disassociated himself from headlines insinuating that he condemned the move by the National Assembly to investigate the N40billion alleged fraud in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The minister, in a statement by Etekamba Umoren, Chief of Staff to the minister on Monday, reiterated that he welcomed the National Assembly investigation and was ready to defend activities of the NDDC as there was nothing to hide.
“The Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has frowned at the use of intemperate language by bloggers and activists in their commentaries on the invitation of the NDDC IMC to appear before an ad-hoc Committee of the SENATE and the National Assembly,” the statement noted.
Mr Akpabio pointed out that the invitation extended to the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, by the Senate is part of its legitimate and statutory function.
The minister described these comments as sponsored comments aimed at misleading or insulting the hallowed National Assembly and hopes the assembly sees it for what it is.
“As a Minority Leader of the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Akpabio recognizes the inherent duty of the National Assembly to carry out oversight functions and would not want sponsored commentators to mislead or insult the allowed chambers with mischievous headlines such as “SENATE GOOFED” Or NASS invitation amounts to ‘busy bodying’.
“Whilst the Honourable Minister disassociates himself from those intemperate languages, he hopes the Distinguished Senators and Honourable members would see those twisted support for what they are – part of the organized campaign of calumny against the Minister and the IMC of NDDC by opponents of the ongoing forensic audit of the Commission.
“The correct position is that Senator Akpabio welcomed the Ad-Hoc Committee set up by the Senate to probe the purported expenditure of N40B naira pointing out that no NDDC money is missing under the watch of Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei.
“On the invitation by the House of Representatives, Senator Akpabio had indicated his readiness to honour the invitation whenever it is extended to him, because he holds the National Assembly in very high esteem being an institution he will belong forever,” the minister said.
Mr Akpabio, therefore, called for an end to “comments and slants” by bloggers and activists, saying that these developments could affect the excellent relationship existing between the National Assembly and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also expressed his happiness with the solidarity and support shown by the people of the Niger Delta for the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC and other initiatives of the administration of the president which he believes are aimed at repositioning the interventionist agency for better service delivery.
He, therefore, urged the people not to disparage any arm of government for carrying out a statutory duty.