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Niger Delta group slams Akpabio over comments on creation of NDDC board

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The Niger Delta Peoples’ Forum (NDPF) has slammed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for allegedly denying his statement on the delay in inaugurating the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Speaking in a statement on Thursday, the National Chairman of the Forum, Chief Boma Ebiakpo, said Akpabio’s unending denials are embarrassingly a sad commentary on governance and uncalled disrepute to the office of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He noted that with each statement of denial by Akpabio, he was either blaming President Buhari for the delay in inaugurating the NDDC Board, or he was contradicting President Buhari’s position and what the President said on the inauguration of the NDDC Board.

The statement read, “The attention of Niger Delta Peoples’ Forum (NDPF) has been drawn again to a vexatious report, another embarrassing volte-face by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, the fourth in less than two months, which appeared in The Guardian newspaper, on December 8, 2021, under the headline “Akpabio denies asking protesters to approach Buhari.

“Using another senior official of his Ministry, Dr. Babayo Ardo, Permanent Secretary, for this flip-flop, Senator Akpabio now claims that he “never advised protesting youths and women of the region to channel their grievances to President Buhari,” with regard to the inauguration of the board of the NDDC. The statement however added that at the appropriate time, upon the recommendation of the Minister to the President, the Board of NDDC will be inaugurated.

Read also: Niger Delta group threatens to shut down oil companies over NDDC board

“With this new ambivalence, it is another denial of a December 4, 2021 story in Nation newspaper under the headline “NDDC Board: channel your grievances to Buhari, Akpabio tells women, youths,” which was the Minister’s reply to women of Niger Delta who accused him of delaying NDDC Board inauguration. The letter, dated November 30, 2021, was signed by his ministry’s Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Alfred A. Abah.

“The Minister’s unending ambivalence and denials are embarrassingly a sad commentary on governance and an uncalled-for bringing to disrepute the office of the President because with each statement of denial or ambivalence by Senator Akpabio, he is either blaming President Buhari for the delay in inaugurating the NDDC Board, or he is contradicting President Buhari’s position and what the President said on the inauguration of the NDDC Board.”

Recall that in a similar pattern, Senator Godswill Akpabio, as reported in The Nation of November 2, 2021, under the headline “It’s not part of my job to constitute NDDC Board, says Akpabio,” also absolved himself from the delay in inaugurating the NDDC Board, thereby blaming President Buhari, only to later walk back in a November 12, 2021 story in ThisDay Newspaper entitled “Re: Formation of NDDC Board Not Part Of My Responsibility.”

Furthermore, the statement read, “In this denial story personally signed by Akpabio on November 12, 2021, Akpabio stated that the report of forensic audit, which he submitted to President Buhari on September 2, 2021 “has just been submitted to Mr President, who is studying it to come up with a formula for a commission fit for purpose.

“That formula is what the board being put together will work with.” This again contradicts President Buhari’s promise and commitment to Nigerians on June 24, 2021, that “I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.”

With him now stating that “at the appropriate time, upon the recommendation of the Minister to the President,” the Board of NDDC will be inaugurated, he has again contradicted President Buhari’s firm promise on inaugurating NDDC Board on completion and submission of the forensic audit report.”

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