The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has announced that the House will sue Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio for perjury over claims that 60% of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts were awarded to members of the House.
The speaker announced this in a statement on Twitter that he has asked the Clerk of the house to begin legal proceedings and initiate a criminal complaint of perjury against the Minister and also a possible defamation suit.
“This morning, I asked the Clerk of House to engage the services of legal counsel, and instruct them to initiate a criminal complaint of perjury against the Minister. At the same time, we will instruct counsel to explore the possibility of a civil defamation suit,” he said.
Last Tuesday I issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to substantiate his allegation that over 60% (sixty per cent) of contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) went to members of the @nassnigeria
— Femi Gbajabiamila (@femigbaja) July 23, 2020
While responding to questions during a public hearing of the investigative panel which was set up to probe the corruption allegations against Akpabio and members of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC last Monday, the minister claimed members of the national assembly were the greatest beneficiaries of the Commission’s projects.
“So it is important that people who have gone to court, people who genuinely did jobs should be paid for their jobs. For me, I am not against it because, of course, who are even the greatest beneficiaries? It is you people,” Akpabio had said.
Reacting to the allegations, the Speaker of the House of Reps, Gbajabiamila on Tuesday, gave Akpabio a 48 hours ultimatum to produce a list of House members who obtained NDDC contracts. He also ordered Akpabio to reveal the sum of contracts, locations and companies used to exercise the contracts, failure to comply which will be met with consequences.
The House is probing the Commission for the misappropriation of funds to the sum of N40 billion.
The speaker said he has held leadership positions in the House since his days as Minority Whip and that the House has lived up to its reputation, adding that the House will not let anyone assassinate its character and “deflect accountability” for misconducts allegations.
He said the House will resist any attempt to soil the reputation of the institution externally or internally and it’s ready to stand on its commitment.