Minister of Niger Delta Godswill Akpabio has described as false the allegations by the former Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Joy Nunieh accusing him of his involvement in various corrupt practices in the Commission.
Akpabio in an interview said all “all the slander and slanderous allegations had no basis” thus should be ignored, even as he denied cornering a whooping number of water hyacinths contracts to himself.
According to him, there was no need discussing issues that concerns the former MD as he claimed it was not the function of a minister.
Akpabio while debunking the allegations presented several documents which he claimed where among the reasons she was removed from office.
He said, ” Let me state clearly that this is not a personal thing, she was not relieved of the appointment because of corruption but insubordination. My Ministry that should supervise her wrote seven letters to her and she never responded to any.
“Also a petition had come from an anti-corruption agency sent to me by the late Chief of Staff Abba Kyari insisting that she did not have the required qualification to work as an acting Managing Director of a commission.
Akpabio insisted that there were discrepancies in all the documents submitted which on its own indicted Nunieh adding that the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, had in a letter claimed they had no records of her in Kwara State or anywhere else.
“She was removed after this findings, if something comes up that you were not aware of like the person occupying a position does not have an NYSC certificate what do you do?
“In my compassionate mind I decided that all this should not be made public, we didn’t sack her, the President approved her replacement because she needed to explain all about this things.
“Let her bring her certificate and show us that this is her NYSC, I don’t want want people to come here and try to throw mud at other people because of personal reasons.
” How can you swear to an affidavit? that is perjury and nobody has charged her, that is to show you that nobody is witch hunting her, she needs to calm down and access herself”, he said.
Meanwhile Nunieh had in an interaction with journalists accused the Minister of pressuring her to take an oath of secrecy which she refused and a number of other damaging revelations.
Nunieh said, “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.
“Before I came when he and Festus Keyamo became Ministers, in their first meeting, they awarded 30 contracts of water hyacinths .” she narrated.
Recall that in February 2020 President relieved Joy Nunieh from her duty as the Acting MD of NDDC and replaced her with Kemebradikumo Pondei, to act in the same capacity.