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NDDC: Anti-corruption group tells NASS to focus on COVID-19

The Chairman of Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri, has called on the National Assembly (NASS) to leave issues concerning the Niger Delta Development…

The Chairman of Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri, has called on the National Assembly (NASS) to leave issues concerning the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) alone and focus on how to help the government fight the rampaging COVID-19 in the country.

The anti-corruption activist said this in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Friday.

He described the probe of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC as a caricature and headless task.

The House of Representatives, on May 5, said it will launch a probe into the alleged mismanagement of funds and other unwholesome practices in the NDDC and has summoned the Niger Delta Affairs Minister and members of the new Interim Management Committee (IMC).

Akpabio is former governor of Akwa Ibom.

The House also mandated its Committee on NDDC to investigate all issues relating to misapplication and misappropriation of funds, especially N40bn spent under two months by the Commission and report back to the House.

Already, the Senate has set up a seven-member ad-hoc committee to probe the “financial recklessness” of the IMC.

The committee was specifically asked to probe the IMC for allegedly squandering N40 billion in three months and see account for other financial transactions within this period.

However, Kpokpogri called for support for Senator 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.

He said what the National Assembly was doing by inviting the Minister for questioning on the N40 billion paid to certified contractors was a “legislative busy body”.

He queried: “Is the National Assembly saying that contractors who were owed over a year ago should not be paid even after the contracts were certified duly executed?

The anti corruption crusader, therefore, advised the National Assembly to stop chasing shadows and focus on COVID-19, the more pressing national concern of the moment.

He said inviting Akpabio to question him on the money he got the Presidency’s approval to pay contractors is nothing but distraction to cover up for their laxity and inability to add value to the system.

The activist alleged that the petition to probe the IMC of NDDC was ill-timed, adding that it was absurd that “spending N40 billion to offset contractual debts became a matter of urgent public importance in an era of coronavirus pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Akpabio has said the investigation will expose faces behind the years of underperformance of the Commission.

In a statement released on Friday by Akpabio’s media aide, Anietie Ekong, and made available to newsmen, the former Senate Minority Leader said he will welcome a lifestream of the planned public hearing to enable Nigerians identify people in high places who have benefited fraudulently from the NDDC.

“Senator Akpabio is upbeat about the plan to probe the NDDC as he has no skeleton in his cupboard.

“In fact, he will welcome a public hearing beamed live for all Nigerians to see,” the statement said in part.

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