…Says Former MD, Nunieh Lacks Temperament, Had 4 Ex-Husbands
By Augustine Akhilomen
Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio has said that President Muhammadu Buhari was not aware of the challenges ongoing in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) including all issues relating to financial misappropriation.
Akpabio, while reacting to allegations levelled against him by a former Managing Director of NDDC, Joy Nunieh said he chose not to bother the President with the crisis in the Commission.
Recall that Nunieh in an interview with journalists alleged that Akpabio forced her to swear oath of secrecy three times after he assumed office, award contracts without due process and also warned her two days after her inauguration that she should dance to his tune or risk being sacked.
Speaking on Arise TV, the Minister said, “I must tell you that even President Buhari was not aware of all these (Crises in NDDC) because I did not want to bother the man because he will be shocked.”
On the corruption allegations against him, Akpabio advised the former acting managing director “to go to the hospital; see a doctor; get some injection and relax.”
Asked if he made the suggestion because Nunieh was sick, he said: “I am not saying anything is wrong with her. But something is wrong with her temperament. You do not need to ask me. But you ask about four other husbands she married because this looks like a character problem.
“She was not relieved of her appointment because of corruption. But she was relieved of her appointment because of insubordination. My ministry that supervised her wrote seven letters to her. She never responded. And then she said she was bigger than the Minister of Niger Delta.
Akpabio, who brought some documents to support his claim, said Nunieh was also dismissed because her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate could not be accounted for.
“She was removed after these findings because if something comes up that you are not aware of, that the person occupying a position just like the former Minister of Finance did not have NYSC certificate, you know our law, either exemption or otherwise, what do you do?
“The problem here is that I blame my heart, I am very soft. Maybe because I have four daughters and I love women. So, what happened is that I decided that this should not be made public,” Akpabio said.
The former Akwa Ibom Governor also defended his decisions regarding the Commission since he assumed office as Minister saying that his primary goal is to reposition the 19-year old which according to him has failed to deliver on its mandate since inception.
“When I was appointed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, I prayed to God. I asked God to give me the ability to take insults that will come my way. At the same time, I asked God to give me the wisdom to turn around the Niger Delta.
“Of course, I expected all these things coming my way. If you place a seed, that seed must first die before it germinates. The NDDC must go through this process before it stands. We must give kudos to the president.”
Besides the proliferation of corrupt practices, the minister also identified paucity of funds as NDDC’s major challenge. He said the commission “needs more than what it is presently getting.”
He acknowledged that NDDC’s previous chairmen and managing directors “tried their best. I believe they tried their best in their own way. Unfortunately, because of paucity of funds, they could not make much impact.”
On the forensic audit, the minister disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari specifically said when he assumed office that it would not be business as usual again in the commission.
He added that this resolve explained why all the governors of the nine states “agreed th…