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Activist faults Senate’s probe of Akpabio, NDDC over N40b paid to contractors

Godwin Udoh

Anti-corruption activist and Chairman of Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri, has described the Senate’s probe of Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, and the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as a ‘shot in the dark’.

The activist made this assertion in a press conference, on Friday, in Lagos State, saying  the venture was a caricature and headless task, adding that the IMC is the best thing that has happened to the Commission since inception.

He further urged the Niger Delta people to support Sen. Akpabio in his quest to clean up the NDDC and position it to better the lives of the Niger Delta people according to the spirit of its creation.

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Kpokpogri said what the National Assembly was doing by inviting the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs for questioning on the N40 billion paid to certified contractors was a shot in the dark and legislative busy-body.

According to him, “Is the National Assembly saying that contractors who were owed over a year ago should not be paid even after the contracts were certified to have been duly executed?

“Are they aggrieved that some of their youth contractors had been denied opportunities for more fraudulent jobs?

“Or are they angry that there would be no more free money from contracts that were never executed?”, he asked.

The anti-corruption crusader, therefore, advised the National Assembly to stop chasing shadows and focus on more pressing national concern of the moment, which is the Coronavirus.

He said inviting Sen. Akpabio to question him on the money he got the Presidency’s approval to pay contractors was nothing but a “distraction, either to cover up for their laxity and inability to add value to the system or a grand plan to harm Akpabio with COVID-19 infection”.

Again, he averred that the headless probe could be diversionary, even as he accused some politicians for failing to use NDDC as a conduit pipe to stack money for 2023 election.

The activist further asked that if the petition to probe the hard-working Interim Management Committee of NDDC was not representing vested interest, then why must spending N40 billion to offset contractual debts become a matter of urgent public importance in an era of Coronavirus pandemic?

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However, it tells the world that the Senate invitation on Sen. Akpabio was just an agenda to mount pressure on him to intimidate him, just for disappointing their fraudulent antics. But he should not be perturbed; it’s only but a game.

“What about the petition against the fraudulent administration of the former acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof. Brambrafa, which was read at the floor of the Senate and heard during public hearing? Why has the National Assembly not come up with the outcome of that investigation?

“Why have those who had looted the Commission dry for themselves and their godfathers not been penalised for corrupt offences?

“I, Comrade Kpokpogri is saying that the Interim Management Committee is the best thing that has happened so far in NDDC. We have never had it this good in Niger Delta. Is the Senate saying that contractors should not be paid? It is high time this nonsense stopped.

“I call on the Presidency to disregard any blackmail against the person of Senator Akpabio. We have passed a vote of confidence on him.

“He is doing what the NDDC was created for, which is to better the lives of the Niger Delta people as an Interventionist Agency.

“National Assembly should find something good and of national value to do and stop chasing shadows,” Kpokpogri said.