The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio on Tuesday denied accusing the Senators and members of the House of Representatives of being contractors to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He stated this while responding to questions after an unscheduled visit to the acting Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Olatunde Ojo, ahead of the resumption of Legislative activities scheduled for Tuesday, 29th September 2020.
On arrival at the office of the acting CNA, Sergeant-at-Arms who accosted parliamentary correspondents after consultation with the Acting CNA denied knowledge of the Minister’s visit, according to Tribune online.
The meeting, according to sources, was not unconnected with the ongoing investigation into the activities of NDDC by the House of Representatives.
Recall that Daily Times on 27 July,2020 reported that Akpabio named lawmakers on NDDC contract list.
Akpabio in closed doors meeting with Acting CNA as Senate, Reps set to resume NDDC probe of the Senate and went to Room 1.11 to visit Senator Nwaboishi, chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC
“Just to congratulate him to send my regards and solicit continuous cooperation of the National Assembly towards the development of the Niger Delta region and in any case you know I’m a Senator, seeing me in the National Assembly should not be a surprise. As a former Minority Leader and a Distinguished Senator, and I believe that I’m a Senator for life.
“So nobody will refer to me as Governor Godswill Akpabio, but they refer to me as Senator Godswill Akpabio. This is like homecoming and the National Assembly ought to have resumed today but they postponed it so I intended that as soon as the resumption takes place I am here; it’s part of my effort to support the President’s decision that there must be a much more cordial between the Executive and Legislature relations.
“In fact, the President recently set up a tripartite committee made up of the party (APC), the National Assembly and the Executive to ensure oneness because we are running one government and it is important that we all remember that whatever we do, we want to leave a legacy for Nigeria and we cannot do this if all the arms of government are not cooperating.
“So far, I believe that whatever disagreement that could have occurred between my own Ministry and the National Assembly must have been as a result of mischief and that mischief must be put to rest so that we can work in one accord for the sake of the nation,” he alleged.
He also emphasised the need for the support of the Senate and House of Representatives in the bid to achieve meaningful development in the oil-producing States, adding that: “it is important that as a Minister I should work towards ensuring that, that cooperation comes on board so that it can benefit the people of Niger Delta.”
While responding to questions on whether he’s going to extend the visit to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minister explained that: “the National Assembly is National Assembly, we must ensure that there is harmony between the Legislature and the Executive; today we have a better National Assembly in terms of Legislative-Executive harmony and cordiality.
“Here and there; even in the family, sometimes the husband and wife may have issues and sometimes the brothers and sisters may have issues but it is the way they resolve the issues that make the family strong
“My presence here is a way to emphasize that I’m a Senator forever and then national Assembly remains my home. So the issue of whether you go to this armour that arm does not arise. It’s the totality of the National Assembly that harmony must occur between the Executive and the Legislature,” he stressed.
In response to question bothering on the peace talks being initiated and whether he has resolved to exonerate the lawmakers who allegedly collected 60% of the contracts in NDDC, Senator 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 (Speaker) did not say whether they were contractors, so I’m hearing it from you,” the Minister noted.