The Honourable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, has said that the events of the last few days at the National Assembly were a clear indication that corruption is fighting back at him.
Senator Akpabio who was a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and one-time Senate Minority Leader was speaking in reaction to allegations levelled against him by a former Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joi Nunieh. He said he was being vilified for his determination to end the sleaze in the system.
“My decision to reduce the illegal cash flow at the NDDC to corrupt individuals through the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari is the reason for these attacks”, said Akpabio.
The Minister noted that the NDDC had bled for too long in the hands of politicians who reduced it to their cash cow, adding that those who are incensed with him and the Interim Management Committee are fighting back to stop further blocking of the leakages in the system.
The NDDC has over the years been enmeshed in a cesspool of corruption and failure to deliver on its core mandate to the people of the Niger Delta region. Consequently, whereas the order by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe her activities in the last 20 years has attracted commendation from key stakeholders in the region, those who are uncomfortable with the reforms are fighting back with everything to destroy or discredit the Honourable Minister and the leadership of the Interim Management Committee led by Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei.
Akpabio observed that in the last couple of months, he and the NDDC IMC have come under a barrage of attacks in a fierce fightback by politicians wounded by the forensic audit. These attacks which manifest in sponsorship of petitions to the National Assembly and media blackmail by politicians who are evidently hurt by the efforts to sanitise the Commission has continued unabated and constitute a huge distraction to the work of the Minister and the NDDC management as directed by the President.
He however assured that he would not be deterred in his resolve to lead the desired change at the Commission to justify the confidence of President Buhari as well as the support and goodwill of patriotic citizens of the Niger Delta region, noting that “forensic, forensic and forensic alone is the way forward to give the NDDC back to the people for which the agency was created.”
He concluded on an optimistic note by assuring that with the successful conclusion of the forensic audit of the NDDC, the Commission would in future be free from the profligacy of the past and the Niger Delta itself would no longer be a museum of abandoned projects.