NDDC: I Was Pressured To Spend N10b As Christmas ‘Palliatives’ — Nunieh

The immediate past Acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Joy Nuniel, told on Friday of how pressure was mounted on her to give out Christmas palliatives last year to the tune of N10 billion.

Had she yielded, each of the states under the operations of the commission would have collected a minimum of N1 billion.

Her refusal to play ball, she told the House of Representatives on Niger Delta, was one of the ‘sins’ that cost her the appointment.

The committee is investigating financial dealings of the commission.

For the umpteenth time, Nunieh accused Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio of upsetting a lot of things at the commission.

The House Committee summoned the minister to appear before it on Monday to come and respond to the allegations against him.

Akpabio himself threatened to sue Nunieh for defamation after the former NDDC boss alleged that the minister made sexual overtures to her which she rejected.

Akpabio said: “There is no scintilla of truth in all the allegations peddled around by Ms. Nunieh. They are simply false!”

Ruling on Friday on an ex parte application filed by Nunieh, a Rivers State High Court granted an interim injunction restraining the police from inviting or arresting her, pending the determination of the substantive case before the court.

The ruling came a few hours after the police in the state said that the deployment of policemen to Nunieh’s Port Harcourt residence on Thursday was official and was known to the Inspector General .

They asked Governor Nyesom Wike who ‘rescued’ her from the police on the day to release her ostensibly for interrogation.

Testifying before the House of Reps on the Zoom platform on Friday, Nunieh said all the talk about forensic audit in the NDDC was false as no such audit has started despite alleged huge payments made for the purpose.

She said: “Two days after our inauguration, at the same Le Meridien Hotel (Port Harcourt), that was his first meeting with the IMC (Interim Management Committee), namely Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; the late EDFA, which I will not be talking about much, let me respect his soul, and the only other staff of the NDDC that was there, one Mr. Etiebet, who later became the head of the procurement unit.

“At that meeting, he (Akpabio) reminded me about the dollars. Secondly, he told me that he wanted me to send some staff away; that they were the ones that spoilt Mrs Akwagaga (Enyia) who refused to sign and make certain payments and that he did not want them to spoil me.

“He said the first thing I would do was to write a letter to him – he gave me the draft; that I should put it on my letterhead. In that letter, I was supposed to write that Senator (Peter) Nwaboshi owned the 98 companies. I never ever told the world that Senator Nwaboshi was the senator that was collecting the N1 billion.

“The issue of the N1 billion was different. I said how can an individual be collecting N1 billion every month? The case of Senator Nwaboshi is the case of the 98 companies which I was supposed to write about.

“The other thing was for employment. Of course, he had collected CVs from all gangs of godfathers. I also said I’m from the Niger Delta, and before I came, there was the issue of employment. The Federal Character Commission was giving NDDC the approval for employment, but that was stopped because of the scandal. I want to tell the world that I never did any employment. I never gave out a single contract from NDDC.”

On allegations of corruption against her, she said: “I am not corrupt. No contractor can sit anywhere and say they gave me N10. And I can say before the world that I’m the most unpopular MD ever that came to NDDC.

“The money of the people of Niger Delta is blood money; I refused to touch it. Even when my friends were contractors, even when they claimed that they were owed monies, my instruction was that everybody should go and finish their jobs.

“Everybody saw contractors go back to sites when I was MD. I was privileged to see all the videos. For one job, five people would send me videos of completion – the same job, the same video – and I would just laugh.”

The former NDDC boss blamed the problems in the NDDC on three groups.

Her words: “One group is the management, which is the IMC, and everybody is against the IMC. The second group is the staff of NDDC. And the third group, which I will start with, is the people of Niger Delta.

“This story that we are all calling embarrassing stories cannot be complete without saying that the people of the Niger Delta region are responsible for what has happened – the frauds and corruption that have taken place in the NDDC. I’m speaking from personal experience. Nation.

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