Details have emerged why Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari sacked former NDDC boss, Joy Nunieh.
Nunieh and Akpabio
The minister for Niger Delta affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has revealed before the House of Representatives that the former acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joy Nunieh, was sacked following a letter from the late Abba Kyari.
He said the letter disclosed that Nunieh did not have a valid NYSC certificate or exemption letter. He also pointed out that she was sacked for insubordination.
According to a report by TheNation, Akpabio said Kyari, the late chief of staff to the president, noted that Nunieh does not have the requisite qualification to occupy a public office.
Akpabio who was testifying before the House of Representatives committee investigating the missing N40 billion from the commission said Kyari’s letter stated that the former NDDC boss does not have an NYSC certificate, adding that the letter formed one of the bases for her removal from office.
He also said the other reason for her removal from office bothers on insubordination and her refusal to attend a meeting of the Federal Executive Council to offer an explanation on certain actions of the commission.
He said: “she ignored the letter written to her by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry directing her to attend a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). She felt that she is bigger than the Minister because she has a bigger budget.”
In a rather rowdy session with members of the House committee, Akpabio denied claims by Nunieh that the forensic audit of the commission has not commenced, saying the forensic audit has since commenced.
Members had queried the minister on his alleged usurpation of the powers of the former managing director asking to what extent he had influenced or exercised such powers in the agency.
“If I find out that the MD of NDDC is not acting in the interest of the Niger Delta people, I will intervene. I had to do that once when I heard about the payment for Lassa fever. I called and found out that they had paid N2.9 billion and they were about to pay another N572 million, I had to intervene and say they should not because there was no budget at that time. The contractor wrote to me to approve N572 million,” he said.
A member, Benjamin Kalu accused the minister of not answering the committee question, but Akpabio denied the allegations, saying; “I am giving you the facts.”
He also accused the minister of usurping the functions of the managing director of NDDC by writing a letter to BPP securing a letter of no objection, but Akpabio said “It is the NDDC that eventually became the procuring agency.
“What happened was that we thought the government was going to pay for the forensic audit. But when the approval of the president came out, he said NDDC should pay and so the letter we wrote was withdrawn. We had even gone to the federal tenders’ board. But eventually, the NDDC became the procuring agency,” he said.
Akpabio also refuted allegations by Nunieh that he approved from NDDC coffers a whopping N10bn for her to share to its contractors
He further said that the N2.5 billion for the forensic audit exercise was included in the 2019 budget of the agency
On the allegation that the agency had been awarding contracts to its contractors without going through the procurement process and signing of necessary documents, he said that the agency only awarded three contracts after he assumed office as minister.