Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has described as untrue the report in some sections of the media that he buck passed on his responsibility for the constitution of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The minister, in a statement he personally signed, attributed the report to those he described as falsehood writers who he alleged were sponsored to write the said story.
Akpabio said the report was done when he was outside the country on a national assignment, adding that he had checked with his media aide, Jackson Udom, and discovered that the latter was deliberately misquoted.
The statement reads:
Re: Formation of NDDC Board Not Part Of My Responsibility
“My attention has been drawn to sponsored write ups in the media, claiming that I passed the buck on my responsibility for the constitution of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC).
“The write ups, deliberately published while I am outside the country on national duty, reportedly quoted my media aide, Jackson Udom, claiming that I have denied responsibility for the constitution of the board of the Commission. I have checked with Mr Udom, and he has clearly said he was misquoted.
“While I am not shocked by the mischief inherent in the publication, I am alarmed at the extent of falsehood the writers went in pushing their anti- Niger Delta agenda, to scuttle the due consideration of the report of the Forensic Audit by stampeding the government. More alarming is the attempt to drag the hallowed name of our president into this plot.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. President has set out to reposition the NDDC after 19 years of rot, saw to the undermining of the dreams of the fathers of the region, to fast track its development through the setting up of an interventionist agency.
“Part of the strategy was a forensic audit to understand what went wrong, despite the resources committed to the Commission over the years.
“The report of that audit has just been submitted to Mr. President, who is studying it to come up with a formula for a commission fit for purpose. That formula is what the board being put together will work with.
Akpabio said it would not be in the interest of the region to stampede the government into aborting the reform process because “the President wants to give to the region an interventionist agency that will realize the dreams of our fathers for our people and generations yet unborn.”
He pledged his commitment in assisting Mr. President to leave behind a legacy for the Niger Delta people, particularly, saving the NDDC from dying like past developmental agencies put together for the region since 1958.