The illegal interim board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, put in place by Minister for Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, is seeking to have the agency’s account signatories at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, changed to access funds to pay a whooping N1.9billion Water hyacinth contracts awarded to cronies of the Minister, inside sources told Pointblanknew.com.

Akpabio had curiously appointed Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh as the new Acting Managing Director, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Acting Executive Director, Projects and Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang, Acting Executive Director,
Finance and Administration.

The appointment made by the Minister came few days before the substantive sixteen-member Governing Board of the NDDC led by Dr. Pius Odubu as Chairman and Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director, appointed by President Mohammadu Buhari, were to appear at the Senate for screening.

Sources told Pointblanknews.com that few days after the Senate cleared the Odubu and Okumagba led board, the illegal Interim Board led by Mrs Nunieh, had rushed to the CBN to seek for a change of signatures so they can access the account of the agency and pay contractors.

Highly placed sources who do not want to be named disclosed that a shocked official of the apex bank told the interim board that such change of signatures cannot happen without a duly signed letter from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, confirming their appointments.

Disappointed and still determined to legalize their activities, the Nunieh board rushed to the office of the SGF and there, they met a brick wall and were turned back, a source familiar with the scheme told pointblanknews.com.

Addressing newsmen recently, Nunieh said her desk was overflowing with payments requests.

Sources who are knowledgeable with the breakdown of law and order at the NDDC told Pointblanknews.com that the whole desperation to access the account of the agency domiciled with the CBN, is aimed at withdrawing N1.9billion to pay contractors fronting for the Niger Delta Minister.

Few days after he resumed as Minister and charged to oversee the NDDC, Akpabio allegedly awarded a N1.9billion Water Hyacinth contract to his cronies. He also allegedly awarded 400 other contracts, bulk of which went to his cronies in Akwa Ibom State.

According to sources, Akpabio had made frantic efforts to have the former Acting Managing Director, Dr. Enyia Akwagaga, to pay the N1.9billion, threatening her if she refuses to do his bidding.

Dr. Akwagaga’s refusal to become Akpabio’s pawn was largely responsible for her unceremonious removal and the appointment of the illegal Interim board by the Minister, Pointblanknews gathered.

“The pressure was too much on her. Akpabio was calling her relentlessly and threatening her. She never felt at ease until she left that office,” an insider told Pointblanknews.

Akpabio wants that N1.9billion. He is desperate to have that money paid and that is one of the reasons he had to device a means of immediately removing Mrs Akwagaga, replacing her with an interim board before the coming of the substantive board. He has a lot to hide and only time will tell,” a contractor at the NDDC told Pointblanknews.

The illegality at the NDDC being promoted by Akpabio, has become a course for concern for members of the National Assembly.

Few minutes after the confirmation of the Odubu/Okumagba led board, the Senate directed the governing board members, to resume immediately after President Muhammadu Buhari is notified of their confirmation.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan said the NDDC Act does not recognise an Interim Management Committee, declaring the action of Akpabio as an act of illegality.

Lawan said: “With the completion of this process, I am sure that any other structure that exists now (in the NDDC) is vitiated. I don’t think we have anything to worry about because this is one thing that is established by the law.

Source: Pointblank News

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