A Niger Delta based group, G.A South South Movement (GASSM) has called on Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio not to be distracted by fraud allegations.
Akpabio is facing probe by the House of Representatives over allegations of N40 billion fraud in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), an agency supervised by his ministry.
The Coordinator of GASSM, Mr Zion Amada said in a statement in Port Harcourt on Saturday that the allegations were mere fabrication to smear the image of the minister.
According to him, the minister is a transparent leader, whose quest to purge NDDC of corruption has earned him undue criticisms from detractors.
“We are aware that people behind some of the corrupt practices unearthed by Akpabio were the ones responsible for the witch-hunt and unwarranted attacks on the minister.
“The alleged N40 billion probe by the House of Representatives is targeted at destroying the hard earned reputation of the minister.
“Akpabio is the first minister to carry out verification before payment as well as stopped upfront payment on fictitious and over inflated contracts without verification in NDDC,” he claimed.
Amada commended the minister for his efforts at curbing corruption in NDDC, stating that Akpabio’s actions have given a new lease of life to the commission.
According to him, the minister’s contributions in capturing youths empowerment and job creation in NDDC budgets has not gone unnoticed by the people.
“So, we call on the minister to continue to be proactive in handling the affairs of NDDC just as we pledge our continued support and loyalty.
“We also call on stakeholders to join hands in developing the region rather than carrying out campaigns of calumny against the minister’s good intentions to develop the region,” he said.
He lauded the Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei for his cooperation, since the commencement of ongoing forensic audit of NDDC finances.