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Probe NDDC from inception, Akpabio tells investigators

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As the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) begins probe of Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Prof Pondei over alleged financial malfeasance, the embattled minister yesterday demanded that the probe should start from the inception of the Commission.

Akpabio said since the commission received over N15 trillion in the last 19 years, with nothing to show for the funds, it would be unfair to restrict the investigation to him and Pondei.

The embattled minister who spoke when members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria visited him in Abuja on Thursday, said the probe should not be restricted to between February and July 2020 that is currently the mandate of the National Assembly but should be a comprehensive probe of the agency’s 19 years of existence.

He said the selective probe would not address the problem of the commission, which he described as “a cesspit of corruption.”

He assured Niger Delta residents and the country that the outcome of the ongoing forensic audit would expose the magnitude of the rot in the agency.

“Why can’t people ask questions? How come it is only now that the noise is louder? How come it is only now that even our parliament has found it necessary to conduct a selective probe of NDDC? Instead of beginning from the inception, year 2001, they are now doing five months probe out of almost 20 years of existence. Why?

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“NDDC has been in existence since 1999; what is really happening now? How is it all petitions on earth are happening? When the wind blows, it blows along with the answer.”

The minister said he had earlier pointed out in a television interview in 2019 that the forensic audit of the NDDC would spark controversy and a campaign of calumny against him and the Presiden Muhammadu Buhari.

“Shortly after Mr President ordered the forensic audit of NDDC, I was on NTA and I pointed out that as soon as this forensic audit commences, that hell would be let loose.”

He claimed that the campaign against him and the NDDC Interim Management Committee was so organised and well-funded that you hardly open a newspaper and you don’t see a screaming headline, and all they are talking now is corruption in five months; not corruption in 19 years and seven months.”

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