The Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has denied accusing the National Assembly members of benefitting from the contract scam in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
DAILY NIGERIAN recalls that Mr Akpabio, while addressing the House of Representatives Committee investigating the missing N40billion in the NDDC, had threatened to publish a list of some lawmakers had allegedly benefitted from the alleged contracts.
The minister had said: “Who is even the greatest beneficiary of the contracts? It’s you people at the national assembly.”
But while addressing newsmen on Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with the NASS acting Clerk, Amos Olatunde-Ojo, the minister dismissed the allegation, saying that the misunderstanding was caused by mischief makers.
On whether he had complied with the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila’s challenge of publishing the list of the beneficiary lawmakers, Mr Akpabio said: “No, no, no, you are wrong. That was not what the Honourable Speaker demanded.”
“The Speaker wanted to know whether there was undue influence from any section of the National Assembly in respect of contracts in the NDDC.
“He did not say whether they were contractors so I’m hearing it from you.”
On the reason for his visit, he said: “I am here to congratulate the acting CNA for his elevation and of course to solicit the continuous cooperation of the National Assembly towards the development of the Niger Delta region.
He said: “In any case, I am a senator, so seeing me in the National Assembly should not be a surprise; as a former Minority Leader of the Senate and a distinguished senator, I believe I am a senator for life.
“Nobody will refer to me as Governor Akpabio, they will always refer to me as Senator Akpabio; so, this is home coming for me.
“The National Assembly is supposed to resume today, but it has been postponed.
“I had intended that as soon as the resumption takes place, I will be here as part of my effort to support the President’s decision that there must be a much more cordial relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.”