As the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) wallows in allegations of massive corruption, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and the immediate past Managing Director of the interventionist agency, Joy Anunieh, have engaged each another in a round of fierce brickbats.
The exchanges got worsened at the weekend, following revelations at the ongoing open investigative hearing by the Senate regarding the alleged reckless spending to the tune of N40 billion.
The media war, however, recorded a twist yesterday, as a former media aide to Nunieh, Donu Kogbara, switched allegiance to the minister.
She claimed that her ex-principal’s attitude “left much to be desired.”
Akpabio, in a live programme at the weekend, sternly responded to the claims of abuse of office by Nunieh against him, describing the NDCC’s erstwhile boss as “too temperamental to be responsible” after an attack on her marital life.
Addressing journalists outside the venue of the hearing, Nunieh had alleged: “Nobody makes any payment in NDDC without Godswill Akpabio’s approval. When we first came, on the day of the inauguration, he said to me in the car, ‘Madam MD’, if you don’t do what I say, the same pen with which I used to sign your paper, is the same pen I will use to remove you.”
She continued: “He said the first thing I should do when I get to Port Harcourt is to change the dollars in the NDDC account. I was scared to do that, and he claimed that I have a poverty mentality. That I am afraid of money.”
But denying maltreating her, the immediate past two-term governor of Akwa Ibom State declared: “She was not relieved of her appointment because of corruption. She was relieved of her appointment because of insubordination.
“My ministry, which supervises her, wrote seven letters to her, but she never responded to one.”
He added: “The late Chief of Staff to the President (Mallam Abba Kyari) sent a petition from the anti-corruption agency stating that she did not have the requisite qualifications to work as acting MD of a commission.”
On the other hand, Dogbara, at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, said Nunieh’s allegations were baseless.