(By Chris K. Amadi) – A new twist has been introduced into the on going probe of the finances of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, by the National Assembly, NASS, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday handing the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, 48 hours to publish the names of lawmakers who were awarded contracts by Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, including the details of the contracts, or incur the wrath of the law makers.
The speaker’s ultimatum was in connection with the revelation of Akpabio when he appeared before the NASS panel probing the finances of NDDC on Monday, that some lawmakers benefitted from contracts at the stinking development agency. Responding to a question, the minister had specifically revealed:
“I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in the NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly”.
The Speaker has therefore threated that the House will deploy the full weight of the law against the minister should he fail to publish the names of the law makers who have been soiling their hands at the NDDC, and details of their contracts.
Bewildered Nigerians who spoke with Notable Outcome observed that the minister’s claim was in line with the position of NDDC management and described the probe as another drama that will go the way of similar probes in the past, especially when it is obvious that the speaker might not be speaking the minds of all lawmakers, including those who have been performing oversight functions at the NDDC.
They however observed that Akpabio was experienced enough to defend his claim of the lawmakers being “the greatest beneficiaries” of contracts at the NDDC when he appeared before the House Committee on NDDC on Monday, especially against the background of his being a member of the Upper chamber in the last legislative season.
The concerned citizens also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up an independent panel to investigate the malfeasance at the NDDC with a view to exposing all those who have been looting funds meant for development in the Niger Delta, and ensuring that thy are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.