The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Monday, accused the House of Representatives Committee investigating financial mismanagement in the Niger Delta Development Commission, of bullying him.
The House grilled Akpabio for about two hours as the supervising minister of the NDDC.
The investigative hearing is being held at the Conference Room 231 of the House.
Earlier, the acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, had collapsed while being grilled by the lawmakers.
But when the hearing resumed, the committee Deputy Chairman, Thomas Ereyitomi, who presided over the hearing, asked the minister if the three major projects he had carried out had the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
Akpabio, who was interrupted while answering the question, said, “Mr Chairman, the condition where we are in now does not require bullying, with due respect.”
However, Ereyitomi responded, “We are not bullying you, honourable minister. Answer the question directly. You know you are my leader; an uncommon leader.”
Ereyitomi, who later thanked the minister for his time, said the purpose of the committee was not to witchhunt anyone but rather to provide an avenue for “an interactive session” and also an opportunity to hear the minister’s side of the happenings in the commission.
“It is fair hearing that we are doing and we pray that as you leave here, the good direction that you intend to give the NDDC, you will continue to do it for the interest and particularly for the Niger Delta people whom we are here to serve. On that note, I want to thank you for finding time to be here and may God bless you and your team as you go back to your various offices,” the presiding chairman said after which a motion for adjournment was moved.
Meanwhile, Godswill Akpabio, has said the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Joy Nunieh, did not participate in the mandatory one year programme of the National Youth Service Corps and had no exemption letter.
When asked about his fracas with Nunieh, the minister said, “The former Managing Director of the NDDC was relieved of her appointment when I received a letter from the then Chief of Staff (may his soul rest in peace) that she did not possess the requisite qualifications to be there.
“For instance, we have written twice to the National Youth Service Corps and twice they have insisted that she never served and that she does not have an NYSC certificate or an exception.”
Akpabio added that among other reasons, Nunieh was sacked for insubordination.
Nunieh and the minister have been subjects of controversies of late with the ex-MD accusing Akpabio of sexual harassment and for hijacking the forensic audit of the NDDC which was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister had denied the claims and threatened to sue her for defamation of character.