Peter Ayoade, Ibadan
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has given the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, 48 hours to reveal the lawmakers who received contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC).
It should be recalled that Akpabio had on Monday while defending the NDDC expenses incurred before a House committee investigating allegations of mismanagement against the commission said that 60 per cent of the contracts awarded by the NDDC was given to lawmakers.
The minister’s claim had generated controversy and questioned the integrity of the committee set up to probe the alleged N81 billion fraud crime by the NDDC.
Addressing the House on Tuesday, however, Gbajabiamila, who has been a federal lawmaker since 2003, stated emphatically that he had never received any NDDC contract before.
He subsequently gave Akpabio 24 to 48 hours to reveal the identities of the lawmakers that received the contracts or face severe sanction.
“This is my 5th term here and I have never for once collected anything from the National Assembly and I know I speak for a great majority of members of this House, a great majority. And because of that, I will take this allegation and accusation very seriously.
“And I will give the minister (Akpabio) 24 to 48 hours. Clerk, I want you to back this up with a letter from this House. Give the minister 24 to 48 hours to publish the names, the contracts so given, the dates because obviously these things will be documented; unveil the companies of the 60 per cent projects that were given to members of the National Assembly.”
Gbajabiamila’s ultimatum received accolades from a large section of the lawmakers.