The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is in a mess at the moment, and two people are at the centre of it — Joy Nunieh and Godswill Akpabio.
Who are these people?
Joy Nunieh was the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC from October 29, 2019, to February 28, 2020.
Godswill Akpabio is a former governor of Akwa-Ibom State, where he served for 8 years. He is currently the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, the ministry that oversees the operations of the NDDC.
What’s the fuss about?
The short answer is a probe.
But it probably goes way back.
President Buhari ordered the audit of the commission’s accounts last year as the commission seemed to be spending a lot of money but having little to show for it.
Currently, the Senate is probing into financial mismanagement by the Interim Management Committee, used to be headed by Nunieh. A six-man Ad-hoc committee had been set and one of their objectives is getting to the root of how ₦40 billion was spent by the commission between January and March 2020.
The Dirty Laundry
It looks like both Akpabio and Nunieh aren’t fans of each other. After appearing at the final session of the Senate ad hoc committee probe over the weekend, Nunieh took some time to speak to journalists.
The former MD claims that Mr Akpabio knew everything about how money moved in and out of the commission during her time as Managing Director.
She also touched on the circumstances that led to her being fired, alleging that the minister orchestrated everything. According to what she said, Akpabio removed her from office because she wouldn’t budge to his demands as regards the spending of the commission.
“Nobody makes any payment in NDDC without Godswill Akpabio’s approval. When we first came, on the day of the inauguration, he said to me in the car, ‘Madam MD, if you don’t do what I say, the same pen with which I used to sign your paper is the same pen I’ll use to remove you.” she says.
Mr Akpabio has denied these allegations. He said that the former NDDC boss was fired because of insubordination and for not participating in the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
One more thing
She added that Akpabio tried to inflate the budget of the commission and wanted her to help him do it.