Reps gives Akpabio 48 hours to publish NDDC contract recipients

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The House of Representatives has given the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, 48 hours to publish names of lawmakers who have received contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Ruling on a matter of privileges brought by Minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said the Minister, who alleged 60 percent of contracts from the NDDC were given to members of the National Assembly,  should publish the names of the companies, the amounts the contracts were awarded, the location of the projects and every other detail of payments.

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Gbajabiamila warned that failure to publish the details of contracts awarded to lawmakers would attract the full weight of the law. He said the Minister owes it a duty to himself, the House Committee on Niger Delta, the people of Niger Delta and Nigerians to publish the names of lawmakers who got contracts from the NDDC.

Although he said his initial reaction was to have a good laugh when the Minister made the allegations, he realized it infringes on the integrity of the House.

Gbajabiamila had on Monday empathized with the acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, who collapse at the ongoing N40 billion probe.

The speaker apologized over the poor condition of the hearing room which was stuffy and Pondei will no longer appear before the House of Representatives panel.

According to Gbajabiamila, “We wish him well. I have been here barely five minutes and I am already sweating profusely. So, I do understand and apologize to everybody here for the poorly conducive atmosphere. I want to say at this point and make it clear, that it is not an adversarial hearing. It is not even inquisitorial.

“It is a fact-finding mission for the people of Nigeria. Just to make things better and we should handle this as such. No one is under inquisition. The fact must come out and that is why the committee is doing what it is doing.

“Because of these conditions in this hall, we don’t need to hear further from the acting MD because he has already submitted his written report. I think you can use the documents to do the work that needs to be done.