….Asks Akpabio to step aside
By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has said the alleged fraud unmasked in Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, was an indication of the corruption and “criminal racketeering” that has pervaded the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, administration.
The party also said, yesterday, that the shocking details of allegation by former NDDC Managing Director, Joy Nunieh, of “massive stealing, manipulation of budget processes, victimisation and implication of innocent Nigerians as well as fetish practices by corrupt officials, allegedly spearheaded by the supervising minister, have further exposed how Ministries, Agencies and Departments, MDAs, are run under the Buhari-led APC administration.”
PDP in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “The PDP observes that the silence and inaction by the Buhari Presidency and APC since the uncovering of the fraud in NDDC signpost complicity at the highest levels as well as validate public stance that treasury looting and cover up for corrupt persons are normal official statecraft and manifesto of the APC and the Buhari administration.
“Nigerians are still in a state of shock over reports of how the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs allegedly bullied officials to pillage the commission’s foreign currency account; how the laid down procedures of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, are allegedly circumvented to siphon unapproved budgets as well as how innocent workers and federal legislators, who are averse to corrupt practices, were victimised, implicated and even harassed with fetish practices.
“The allegation by the former NDDC MD that a certain NDDC top notch said he can kill if the minister asks him to do so, shows the level of recklessness and the victimisation in MDAs under APC rule.
“More distressing is that the Buhari Presidency and the APC had remained silent even when the embattled minister has not provided any concrete defence to the allegations beyond personal attacks on the whistle blower.
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“Nigerians will recall that our party had in April, alerted of massive looting in NDDC and called for investigation, which was, however, not addressed by the government.
“Our party had also alerted that NDDC management has not been able to give cogent explanation to the reported Lassa fever contract fraud through which over N4 billion NDDC fund was alleged to have been frittered on hazy procurement deals.
“This is in addition to alleged N5.5 billion COVID-19 scandal, which trails reports that NDDC had already spent over N1.045 billion purportedly for supply of kits and palliatives to Nigerians in nine states.
“The PDP holds that any credible administration like that of APC and the Buhari Presidency would want Nigerians to believe as running, would have spoken out and commenced immediate investigation into the matter, if its officials were not complicit.
“The PDP, therefore, demands that Senator Akpabio should step aside and submit himself for investigation over these weighty allegations.”