The Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has dragged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, to court over his failure to provide names of lawmakers who benefited from contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Few day ago Akpabio had claimed that most of the contracts in the NDDC are awarded to members of the National Assembly.
Gbajabiamila gave Akpabio 48 hours to provide the names of the lawmakers who benefited from NDDC contracts.
Following the failure of the Minister to provide the names, the Speaker ordered the Clerk of the House of Representatives to engage the services of a legal counsel to initiate a criminal complaint of perjury against the Minister.
Gbajabiamila said: “Last Tuesday, I issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to substantiate his allegation that over 60 per cent contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission went to members of the National Assembly.
“I 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.
“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 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.
“The House of Representatives is a public trust placed in our care for the duration of our term in office.
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