Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has denied news reports that he offered a bribe of $5 million to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to secure the appointment of a sole administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The minister disclosed this in a statement released yesterday by his media aide, Anietie Ekong.
The former Senate minority leader said he would have to take legal action against the purveyors of the news to clear his name and that of the AGF from the malicious publication. According to Ekong, “the attention of the minister of Niger Delta Affairs has been drawn to a piece of fake news, which claimed that Senator Akpabio paid $5 million bribe to Malami and others to secure the appointment of a Sole Administrator for NDDC.
“We wish to state categorically that this is a piece of malicious concoction manufactured from the pit of hell by mischief-makers. It is a figment of the imagination of the author of the fake news. Akpabio denies the story in its entirety. The authors of the fake news should be ready to back up their claim or face the full wrath of the law.
“The story is a desperate attempt by some unscrupulous bloggers to impugn the integrity of Akpabio and Malami as the claim is not only spurious but utterly ridiculous.
“The fact is that in a suit number ABJ/CS/617/2020 filed by a Civil Society Organization, Forum for Accountability and Good Governance, at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had granted an order restraining the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC from performing the functions of the board and accessing the commission’s offices and files.”
The statement further explained that the order listed the Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei; Acting Executive Director of Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; Mrs. Caroline Nagboh, and Cecilia Akintomide as those restrained. According to him, the order also asked that “the most senior civil servant or administrator in the Commission be appointed” to take charge of the Commission.
“It was based on this order that President Muhammadu Buhari ap-proved the elevation of the Acting Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Effiong Akwa, being the most Senior Administrator to take over the headship of the NDDC as an Interim Administrator pending the completion of the forensic audit exercise.
“It is, therefore, absurd for anyone to even imagine that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs would bribe the Attorney General before an order of the court is complied with as the purveyors of the fake news have stated. The general public should discountenance this piece of trash.
“It is obvious that some persons who are scared of the on-going forensic audit of the NDDC as ordered by President Buhari are working tirelessly to scuttle the exercise by blackmailing Akpabio.
Their modus operandi is to churn out fake news in a bid to stop Senator Akpabio from sanitising NDDC. Otherwise, how can a responsible news website make such a grievous allegation without any shred of evidence to back up its claim?
“However, we wish to state that no amount of sponsored fake news and blackmail would deter Senator Akpabio from doing the right thing as directed by Mr. President.
The minister has the overwhelming support of the impoverished masses of the Niger Delta who have borne the brunt of underdevelopment of the region over the years,” Ekong said.