The House of Representatives has resolved to initiate criminal charges of perjury and criminal proceedings against the minister of the Niger Delta Commission, Senator Godswill Akpabio for failing to publish names of members he alleged benefitted from the corrupt contracts of the NDDC.
Last Tuesday the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Minister to substantiate his allegation that over 60% (sixty percent) of contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) went to members of the National Assembly.
The speaker had also said then that the Honourable Minister owed it to himself and the country to provide evidence to support these serious allegations.
“The Honourable Minister has failed to respond to my request. Therefore, I must conclude that his statement intended solely to gaslight the nation to avoid accountability for the evident maladministration and malfeasance in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“In my time in the House of Representatives, I have held every leadership position from Minority Whip, through to Minority Leader, Leader of the House (Majority Leader) and now Speaker. I recognize 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, ” the speaker said.
The speaker further States that “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.
“The House of Representatives is a public trust placed in our care for the duration of our term in office. We must prove ourselves worthy of this public trust or risk the censure of history.
“Therefore, we will resist every attempt to undermine this institution, whether such attempts come from within or from outside. This House will live up to the highest expectations of the Nigerian people. This is our commitment, and we will not fail.”