OrderPaperToday – Another piece of drama played out at the investigative hearing of the House of Representatives on Monday as it was discovered that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, did not endorse the oath he swore to before the commencement of his testimony.
The minister may have deliberately dodged the signing of the oath form even after officials of the House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Sergeant-at-Arms of the National Assembly demanded that he endorsed the document.
A mild drama ensued in front of the House Speaker’s car par as officials who followed the minister up to his car to ensure he signed the oath paper left disappointed with some of them concluding that “he has played us.”
It is the practice of the National Assembly to place people who appear before investigative hearings on oath because submissions or presentations made under oath could be used against the individual or organization in a competent court of law.
When OrderPaper Nigeria contacted a member of the NDDC Committee, Mr. Unyime Idem (PDP, Akwa Ibom) through telephone for reaction on the development, he said he witnessed the swearing of oath but what he could not say is whether Akpabio eventually signed the oath form.
“I can not say exactly whether the Honorable Minister signed the oath form but I witnessed him take the oath before he made his presentation which is the usual practice of the parliament”.
The House of Representatives Committee on NDDC is investigating allegations of financial malfeasance, fictitious award of contracts, corruption allegations and other issues affecting the Commission. The committee has been sitting since Wednesday last week.
Recall also that last week Friday, the 17th of July 2020 the Committee summoned Mr. Akpabio and the Managing Director of NDDC, Daniel Pondei to appear before it unfailingly.
Earlier, the chairman of the Committee Mr. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo recused himself from presiding while his Deputy, Mr. Thomas Ereyitomi chaired the day’s hearing.
During proceeding, the acting Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Pondei, fainted and was rushed out of the meeting causing a 30-minutes adjournment after which Mr. Akpabio was ushered in to make his submission.
At the time of filing this report, all efforts to get the Spokesperson of the House, Mr. Benjamin Kalu, to tell Nigerians the implications of Akpabio’s conduct on the oath proved abortive.