The speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday said that he had asked the Clerk of the House to initiate a criminal complaint of perjury against the Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
Akpabio, who appeared before House of Representatives committee probing allegations of corruption in the agency on Monday had said that lawmakers were the “greatest beneficiaries” of NDDC contracts.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Gbajabiamila, who had asked Akpabio, to name lawmaker who got contracts from Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) within 48 hours or face the wrath of the law, said Akpabio would be sued for defamation.
“This morning, I asked the Clerk of @HouseNGR 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”, Gbajabiamila said.
He said that Akpabio had failed to provide evidence to back up his claims, adding that he would not watch anyone damage the image of the House which he leads.
“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 @nassnigeria
“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 @HouseNGR leadership position from Minority Whip, 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”, he said.
Allegations of massive corruption in the NDDC have come to the fore in the past weeks as lawmakers probe into financial recklessness in the agency.