The All Progressive Congress State Chairmen Forum has demanded the removal of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
They accused the minister of exhibiting an “overbearing behavior”, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to dismiss him.
A statement signed by the chairman of the forum, Ali Dolari, and the secretary, Ben Nwoye, accused Mr Akpabio of interfering in the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The statement came after the forum met in Asaba, Delta State, Punch newspaper reported.
“He (minister) has a vested interest to annex the Niger Delta Development Commission as a unit of the Niger Delta Ministry where he is the minister,” the statement said.
“We query the rationale behind Akpabio’s hastened moves to impose an illegal Interim Management Committee in breach of the NDDC Act, particularly his naming of one Dr Cairo Ojougboh, a medical doctor, as the acting Executive Director, Projects, whereas the NDDC establishment Act makes it mandatory for the occupant of that office to be a certified engineer with the requisite engineering certificates and membership of statutory regulatory bodies.
“What does Akpabio intend to achieve by hurriedly appointing Dr Joy Nunieh, who incidentally is the Rivers State Representative, as acting Managing Director of his unconstitutional interim management committee whereas, he is aware of President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of a substantive board currently undergoing screening at the Senate?,” read the statement published by the Punch.
Mr Akpabio’s spokesperson, Anietie Ekong, told PREMIUM TIMES he would respond to the matter later as he was alighting from an airplane at the time he was contacted.
Much financial commitments, less developmental achievements
The Niger Delta commission, a development interventionist agency set up in 2001, made headlines recently after President Muhammadu complained about its well-known poor performance and ordered a forensic audit.
Mr Akpabio last week lamented the corruption and political interference disrupting the original purpose of setting up the NDDC.
Speaking in an interview on NTA a week ago, the minister said there were people within the NDDC ripping the region off its infrastructural development goals and enriching themselves despite the huge government’s financial commitments to NDDC over the years.
“I think people were treating the place as an ATM, where you just walk in there to go and pluck money and go away, I don’t think they were looking at it as an interventionist agency,” he said.
“Even the idea of giving out a job to somebody who does not have the requisite skills is corruption on its own. The idea of bloating the contract is also corruption. Even collecting money and abandoning the site is also corruption.
“We have also had a lot of political interference, people have not allowed NDDC to work as it ought to, people coming with ideas not to move the region forward but to move their pockets forward. It has always been so,” Mr Akpabio lamented.
This was followed by a reshuffle in the NDDC’s management.