Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has debunked claims against him by the erstwhile acting managing director of the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), Ms. Gbene Joi Nunieh. Akpabio described the claims as cornucopia of false, malicious, and libelous.
According to a statement issued yesterday by Akpabio’s special adviser on media, Anietie Ekong, the press interviews granted recently by Nunieh and published in the media and social media platforms, were concerted vicious campaigns of calumny deviously orchestrated by her against his person ranging from allegation of corruption, sexual and workplace harassments, pipelines bombings, secret cult activities, abuse of office, amongst other lies peddled by her.
He said Nunieh’s attacks are both personal and sponsored, adding that those afraid of the truth, and who wish to bury it from seeing the light of the day, are strenuously behind Nunieh’s vicious campaign of calumny. He also disclosed that Akpabio has taken steps to instruct his lawyers to seek necessary redress in a Court of competent Jurisdiction on his behalf over the defamatory statements made by Nunieh. The minister, while encouraging all Nigerians to hold their leaders accountable, said the public should take time to sift between the chaff and the substance before embarking on far reaching allegations, opinions and views.
Akpabio said he was committed to the mandate from President Muhammadu Buhari to unearth alleged looting and financial misappropriation that had gone on at the NDDC since its inception in 2001 through the forensic audit of the NDDC and will not be deterred or distracted from that goal. The statement further disclosed that “the aim of the campaign of calumny is to get Senator Akpabio out, kill the forensic audit, and continue business as usual at the NDDC.”
Apparently responding to the allegation of sexual advances as claimed by Nunieh, Akpabio’s spokesman said the minister, who is happily married with four daughters, is as an avid believer of the Affirmative Action and that was visible in the appointments he made as a two term governor of Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015, where he appointed several women into various high level positions as chairpersons of local government councils, magistrates, judges, heads of parastatals, directors, permanent secretaries and commissioners.
The statement reads in part: “The Honourable Minister’s initial attitude was to allow his lawyers and the judicial system vindicate him of the false allegations against him, but he is compelled to react to some of the wayward allegations levied against his person by Ms. Nunieh, especially the one bothering on sexual harassment. “There is no scintilla of truth in all the allegations peddled around by Ms. Nunieh. They are simply false! The Honourable Minister did not at any time, place or circumstance make any form of sexual advances to Ms. Nunieh, not even to put himself in a position or posture suggestive of sexual advances towards Ms. Nunieh, or any female staff of his Ministry or the NDDC.”