Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has reacted to the allegations of corruption levelled against him by Joy Nunieh, a former Acting Managing Director of Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Nunieh who addressed newsmen after she appeared before the Senate ad hoc Committee investigating NDDC last week, accused the former Governor of Akwa Ibom state of pressuring her to take the oath of loyalty.
She also recounted some incidents that occurred prior to her removal as the agency’s Acting Managing Director.
“Nobody makes any payment in NDDC without Godswill Akpabio’s approval. When we first came, on the day of the inauguration, he said to me in the car, ‘Madam MD, if you don’t do what I say, the same pen with which I used to sign your paper is the same pen I’ll use to remove you.
“He said the first thing I should do when I get to Port Harcourt is to change the dollars in the NDDC account. I was scared to do that and he claimed that I have a poverty mentality that I’m afraid of money. All of you knew that he accused me of refusing to spend money. It is strange today, it’s about money.
“After that, he came to Port Harcourt two days after the inauguration and told me that the first thing I should do was to change the dollars.
“He told me to take an oath. Though he denied that, he told me, three times until we had a reconciliation at the Villa in the office of Mr. Abba who is the S.A. to the President on domestics.
“In that meeting was Alhaji Maikano and he said the only condition is when I take the oath and I didn’t take the oath and will never take it.
“After that, he said, he was going to remove me and he started the campaign of calumny against me. I didn’t even answer him because the fact will speak for itself.
“I refused to go with him to the FEC meeting to deceive Mr. President and the reason is because the law says if I contravene a section of the procurement Act, it’s five years imprisonment without an option of fine,” she said.
“So if I had gone with him to deceive Mr. President, I would have been in trouble because they said it’s the 2020 budget, but Akpabio went and got approval when the budget was not ready.
“One of the issues raised against me was that I awarded contracts without them knowing about it. I’m sure that is what they told you people yesterday.
“Apparently, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh never sits in the office, so he never knew the workings and the bureaucracy of payments in the office.
“There are different steps to take before payments are made in NDDC. One, there is the issue of Lassa fever which obviously they didn’t carry along.
“Nobody makes payments in NDDC without Godswill Akpabio’s consent.
“He said I should remove Mr. Katulgo from the legal unit and send him on compulsory retirement. I refused to do it. He said we cannot have a northerner as head of the legal unit.
“I said, I cannot do that. I do not have the powers because I am just an IMC. It’s a criminal offense, and against public service rules for me to do that. He said I should repost all other directors that refused to take his instruction during my predecessor’s time, that is, the person who was there before I came.
“So, he came and asked me to draft a letter on my letterhead implicating Senator Peter Nwaoboshi for collecting contracts in NDDC. I told him that I will not do that. I am a lawyer. Whoever alleges must prove.
“He said Senator Nwaoboshi is giving us trouble and besides he didn’t recognize the IMC. I said I will not do that letter. He said I was ungrateful and I refused to do that letter.
“Dr. Cairo said he would do the letter. He said if Akpabio asked him to kill, he would kill first before asking why he killed. And I said, for me, I will not do that.
“At that place, there was one Mr. Etiebet who was the only NDDC staff that was present at that meeting. He now asked Dr. Cairo to go and send for letterheads from the office.
“Dr. Cairo did the letter alleging that Senator Nwaoboshi had contracts with NDDC and I said if I signed, any document from me seen by Mr. President, he will believe. So I will only write that the EDP knows about it.
“The next thing he told me is that I should make sure these people leave the procurement. Before I came when he and Festus Keyamo became Ministers, in their first meeting, they awarded 30 contracts of water hyacinths.”
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Reacting to this in an interview on Arise TV, Akpabio insisted that Joy Nunieh has character issue. He also challenged the interviewer to bring in the former NDDC Acting MD’s “4 husbands” who she allegedly divorced, to corroborate his claim.
“I don’t want to discuss her because that’s not the job of a Minister.
“The last MD you mentioned, Joy Nunieh, I wish she can go to hospital, see a doctor take some injections and relax.
“I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with her, but I’m saying there’s something wrong with her temperament. Remember she had about four other husbands that she married.
“You also need to bring all the other former husbands to the studio so that you ask them questions one after the other because it looks like character.
“They will have answers to her problem. Not a professional conduct, is she a professional?
“They will tell you about her characters because what I’m seeing here…if somebody comes up and say something on television channel…then the whole world…Nigerians love bad news and my job is to protect the citizens of the country and the administration of Mr. President .
“I must tell you that even Mr. President, President Buhari was not aware of all these things because I did not want to bother because he will be shocked.”