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Reps prepare lawsuits against Akpabio over NDDC contracts claim

Lawmakers at the Green Chamber of the National Assembly have resolved to institute lawsuits against the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, over his claims that 60 percent of the contracts in the Niger Delta Development Committee (NDDC) were awarded to lawmakers.

It would be recalled that the Minister had on Monday claimed under oath during the investigative hearing on the alleged financial misappropriation amounting to N40 billion in the NDDC, that the National Assembly members were beneficiary of the NDDC contracts.

Not satisfied with the allegation, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabimila, had on Tuesday, in response to Akpabio’s claim, issued a 48 hours ultimatum to the Minister to publish the names of lawmakers and details of the awarded contracts.

However, Gbajabiamila, during Thursday’s plenary disclosed that he has directed the Clerk of the House to file a suit of perjury against the Minister through a legal counsel.

He explained that his directive was a sequel to the earlier ultimatum issued to the Minister which he had failed to respond to till the 48 hours elapsed.

Gbajabiamila noted that the action had become imperative to set the path for future references aimed at guiding public office holders on their conduct and utterances against the lawmakers and the House.

“I recognise that the House has not always lived up to the high expectations of the Nigerian people. As much as we still have a lot to do in that regard, I refuse to sit here in good conscience and allow anyone to assassinate the character of the House in an attempt to deflect accountability for their conduct in office. Such mendacity as was witnessed at the public hearing will not be tolerated from anybody no matter how highly placed.

“This morning, I asked the Clerk of the House of Representatives to engage the services of legal counsel, and instruct them to initiate a criminal complaint of perjury against the Minister. At the same time, we will instruct counsel to explore the possibility of a civil defamation suit against the Minister,” he said.

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