Nigeria

Senator Akpabio denies reports linking him to NDDC board crisis

Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, has reacted to what he called “a cornucopia of false, malicious, and libellous press interviews” granted by Ms. Gbene Joi Nuineh, the erstwhile Acting Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) in some news and social media platforms and a “series of concerted vicious campaigns of calumny deviously orchestrated by her” against his person.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, has taken a swipe at a recent publication alleging that he shrank from constituting the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC).

He also described the publication as a “mischief and falsehood,” insisting that it aims at stampeding the efforts of the federal government to forensically audit the NDDC for better service delivery to the region.

In a statement signed by Jackson Udom, Media Aide to the former Senate Minority Leader, Akpabio cautioned that “It is not in the interest of the region to stampede the government into aborting the reform process.

The President has demonstrated immense love for the Niger Delta and its people. This is reflected in the support he has given to the NDDC to complete some of the projects abandoned over the years, like the headquarters complex in Port Harcourt, the Students’ Hostel at Uyo, and the electrification project in Ondo State.

The President wants to give to the region an interventionist agency that will realize the dreams of our fathers for our people and generations yet unborn.

The greatest disservice we can do to the region is to attempt to stampede him, through ingeniously crafted media campaigns.”

He further emphasised his commitment to assist President Muhammadu Buhari “to leave behind a legacy for the Niger Delta people, particularly, saving the NDDC from dying like past developmental agencies put together for the region since 1958.”

The statement reads in part; “My attention has been drawn to sponsored write-ups in the media, claiming that I passed the buck on my responsibility for the constitution of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC).

The write-ups, deliberately published while I am outside the country on national duty, reportedly quoted my media aide, Jackson Udom, claiming that I have denied responsibility for the constitution of the board of the Commission. I have checked with Mr Udom, and he has clearly said he was misquoted.

While I am not shocked by the mischief inherent in the publication, I am alarmed at the extent of falsehood the writers went in pushing their anti- Niger Delta agenda, to scuttle the due consideration of the report of the Forensic Audit by stampeding the government. More alarming is the attempt to drag the hallowed name of our president into this plot.

For the avoidance of doubt, Mr President has set out to reposition the NDDC after 19 years of rot saw to the undermining of the dreams of the fathers of the region, to fast track its development through the setting up of an interventionist agency.”

He asserted that “part of the strategy was a forensic audit to understand what went wrong, despite the resources committed to the Commission over the years.

The report of that audit has just been submitted to Mr President, who is studying it to come up with a formula for a commission fit for purpose. That formula is what the board being put together will work with.”

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