Akpabio Threatened To Remove Me If I Don’t Do His Bidding — ex-NDDC Acting MD
…only N8bn was spent under my leadership
The immediate past acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh, has denied allegations that the agency spent N22.6billion under her stewardship.
Dr. Nunieh spoke to Senate Correspondents on Friday after the final session of the Senate Ad hoc Committee investigating alleged financial recklessness and misappropriation of N40billion by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC, between October 2019 and May this year.
She said no payment was made by the NDDC under her watch without the knowledge of the Niger Delta Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
She said that only N8billion was expended by the agency from October 29, 2019 to May 31, 2020, when she was in charge of affairs at the NDDC, contrary to the figure being bandied around.
The Chairman of the Senate Adhoc Committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, had on Thursday said based on record supplied to the panel by the IMC, the agency had so far spent N81.5billion.
He added that of the amount, the IMC led by Dr. Nunieh between October 2019 and February 18, 2020, spent a total of N22.5billion while the current one led by Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei has so far spent N59.1billion. But Nunieh denied spending such a huge sum.
The ex-Acting MD of the NDDC further alleged that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs frustrated her efforts during her tenure before she was finally removed from office. She alleged that Akpabio told her on the day that her committee was inaugurated that she must always do his bidding.
“Madam MD, if you don’t do what l say, the same one that l used in signing your letter, is the same one l will use to remove you, ” she quoted Akpabio as saying. She also alleged that she was instructed to write an official report to implicate the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, over alleged fraudulent contract awards and executions.
“I was asked to draft a letter on my letterhead implicating Senator Peter Nwaoboshi for collecting contracts in NDDC. I said l will not do that, that l am a lawyer; and that he who alleged must prove,” she said, adding that for her stance she was accused of ungratefulness.
The offence of Nwaoboshi was that he was opposed to the NDDC being run by an interim committee, but she said she rebuffed all such entreaties.
Nunieh said: “They did all manner of things to forcefully remove me from office like sponsoring the vandalisation of Agip Trunk A Pipeline in Bayelsa, as a way of making the unsuspecting public to believe that the youths in the area were angry with NDDC under my leadership. They even made frantic attempts to force me to swear to fetish oath which I vehemently refused.”
She said her antagonists finally succeeded in getting her out of NDDC for the sole purpose of having their way, which, according to her,” is to run the place the way they like under the present team of IMC.”
However, a member of the current IMC of the NDDC, Evangelist Caroline Nagbo, said that Nunieh was being economical with the truth. Nagbo insisted that there was no time Nunieh or any other member of the IMC was invited to take any oath of secrecy. As far as I am concerned, as a member of the current Interim Management Committee of NDDC, I took an oath of allegiance and not an oath of fetishism from anybody,” she said.