The House of Representatives has announced they are going to take legal action against the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, over his comments on federal lawmakers receiving over 60 per cent of contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission, reports Sahara Reporters.
Akpabio made the comment on Tuesday when he appeared before the House Committee alleging that most of the contracts awarded by the Commission were to members of the National Assembly.
The comment made by the minister, Godswill Akpabio, pushed the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to issue a 48-hour ultimatum to name the lawmakers that benefitted from the said contracts.
However, the 48-hour ultimatum elapsed today Thursday, July 23, and the house of reps has decided it will take Akpabio to court for such a ”defamation of members character”.
Speaking on the floor of the house this morning, Gbajabiamila said;
“Last Tuesday I issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to substantiate his allegation that over 60% (sixty per cent) of contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) 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 (NDDC).
“I have held every House of Representatives leadership position from Minority Whip, 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.
“This morning, I asked the Clerk of 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
“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. The House of Representatives will live up to the highest expectations of the Nigerian people. This is our commitment, and we will not fail.”