Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has accused the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, of sponsoring militants against the governors of the South-South geopolitical zone over the 13 per cent derivation funds.
A coalition of Niger Delta militants group, Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), in a statement last week had enjoined President Muhammadu Buhari to stop further release of the 13% derivation funds directly to the governors, but pay same to the host communities since the governors could not account for N55tirllion accrued to the region from 1999 to 2018.
Responding to the allegation on Friday, Wike alleged that the smear campaign against the governors of the oil bearing region was sponsored by Akpabio to deride the South-South governors, who are mainly of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
He wondered how the minister came about the said amount.
“You (Akpabio) went and started sponsoring so-called militants that we should render account of N55trillion.
“Where did we get the N55trillion? If we got N55trillion, then he got N200trillion. You cannot insult people.”
He said it was disingenuous for Akpabio who as Governor of Akwa Ibom State acted like a demigod, to accuse incumbent Governors of financial recklessness just because they did not attend the inauguration of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, headquarters building in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
The Governors, in their meeting in Port Harcourt, had demanded that every money meant for NDDC, except staff’s salaries, be lodged in escrow account until a substantive board of the commission was put in place.
Wike took a swipe at the Minister during the inauguration of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, secretariat building, performed by the National President of TUC, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, in Ozuoba town of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Wike said: “We knew when Akpabio was a Governor what he was doing. In fact, he saw himself as a god then. Now, he has the temerity to insult South South governors. We will meet one day.
“If he did well, why did he fail Senate election? If his people love him, why did he fail Senate election? Ordinary senate? And you will come and talk to us.”
He explained that the inauguration of the NDDC headquarters building was planned without resort to the governors in the region to know if the date was suitable for them.
The governor also said that Akpabio lacks the morality to ask what the Governors have done with the 13 per cent derivation, adding that the former governor got more money as a governor because Nigeria’s economy was better then.
“I have told him (Akpabio) to talk less. Now, he is taking on South-South governors, we will tell him that when he was governor, he was acting as a king. There was money as at that time.
Recall that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, earlier in the year described as fictitious and malicious, claims that he received a bribe from Akpabio on the appointment of an administrator for the NDDC.
President Buhari had appointed the Executive Director of Finance and Administration in NDDC, Effiong Akwa, as the commission’s administrator on December 12, 2020.
Malami, who disclosed this in a statement issued by his media aide, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, said the allegations were “marred by evincing contradictions, figment of imagination, sheer fabrications and filthy assumptions of mischief-makers and detractors.”