Armed Security Agents Attempt To Forcefully Arrest Joy Nunieh, Former Managing Director, NDDC, Hit The Rocks As Wike Intervened To Rescue Her

By Stephen Ubanna

The quarrel between Joy Nunieh , immediate past Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state and now minister of ministry of Niger Delta  has  taken a turn for the  worse.

Nunieh had accused Akpabio of being instrumental for her removal from office by President Muhammadu Buhari. She had made some damning allegations against  the  minister of collecting  30 different Contracts from the Commission on distilling and water hyacinth.

 More  damning  was her exposition that the minister  made a demand for  $1 million during Christmas. It could not be ascertained whether it  was a yearly demand or not. She had also said that the minister mismanaged the Intervention agency N40 billion as well as influences its yearly budget.

She may have dragged Akpabio  into a major confrontation with the National Assembly  when  she said  he asked her to   write a letter to President Muhammadu Buari, indicting Peter Nwaoboshi, Chairman , Senate Committee on NDDC and his counterpart in the House for collecting Contracts from the Commissiion which  she refused to do.

 She had said that Cairo Ojougboh, Executive  Director, Projects  had agreed to do the letter but the minister insisted  that she must do the covering note with her letter head , before submitting it to the Committee. Again, Nunieh, who would not allow herself to be  pushed around by Akpabio  said  she refused to do it. Instead  she disclosed that she wrote was that  Ojuogboh, Executive Director Projects who did the letter had left NDDC.

The  NDDC , Senate Committee members may have gotten wind of the accusations and counter-accusations between Nunieh and Akpabio  over the issue of the Committee members collecting contracts from the Commission that  it challenged the agency  to publish the records of the alleged multiple contracts awarded the Senators. 

Pehaps, to get to the root of the matter, Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President had Constituted a  seven-man Committee to investigate the allegations of Corruption and counter –allegations of Corruption between Nunieh and Akpabio. Recall that  the former NDDC boss, had said that the minister would never want to sign any document to avoid being linked to any fraud    but would encourage the Directors to do it.

Wike: Governor, Rivers State, Rescued Joy Nunieh, Former MD, NDDC From Armed Security Agents Raid Of Her Residence

Nunieh who had appeared before the Senate Committee  where she made the damning allegations against Akpabio  was due to appear before the House Committee on NDDC, on Monday to face a similar interrogation. Butsecurity report might have leaked out that her  life  was in danger forcing Nyesom Wike,  the People’s Demoratic Party, PDP, governor of the state to give his words to rescue her from any attack.

True to his promise , on Thursday, July 16, 2020, some 50 armed police were said to have stormed her residence in PortHarcourt in an unholy hour  with the intention to whisk  her away.  While speaking with Channels Television, she disclosed that they made several attempts to break into the house as she was said to have made efforts  to  reach out to the governor. The governor may have gotten wind of the security agents raid in her house that  he rushed to  scene. His appearance may have frustrated their plan to forcefully arrest her  as he took her away the state government House.   She was said to have reached out to Joseph Mukan , the state Commissioner of Police ,who promised to send to reinforcement but that was how far he could go.

 Many believe that both for the governor’s intervention, she could have been kidnapped  by the  security operatives , who claimed to be members of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Monitoring Unit . Wike , who could not hide his feelings , said he police raid on Nunieh, the  former NDDC ,  Managing Director’s residence  was a’’ disgrace’’, stressing that the best option would have been to invite he for questioning  instead of using force to take her away.

He pointed out that for the security Operatives to have  stormed  the former NDDC, helmsman’s residence at such odd hours of the night  suggests some sinister motive that could  not be tolerated. ‘’Who knows  what  would have happened to her if they had gained access to her main room’’, he queried.  Infact, the embattled  former  NDDC , boss said they banged at the back door of the house  heavily with the intention to broke in but were not  lucky.

A s at the time of writing this resport, Nunieh , the former NDDC  boss was still at the state government House .But Mukan, the state Commissioner of Police has asked the governor  to hand over to the state Command as it is their responsibility to keep her their Custody.  The CP, who could not hide his feelings had told Journalists on Friday, July 17, 2020, that though it is  the governor is free to protect his Citizens, ‘’he should however do that within the Confines of he Law’’. He stated that  under normal circumstance  he is supposed to have turned her to the Command that he is in a better position to take to the Government House.

Buhari: Orders Speedy Investigation of NDDC By Relevant Security Agencies And The National Assembly

The governor may have his reason for still keeping her at the government. This is because of the way and manner the armed security agents  raided her  house without warrant of arrest. Reacting to the governor’s claim  that the  police Operation in her house was illegal, the police Chief  had explained that there was nothing wrong about it.  He explained that ‘’it is not in every circumstance that a warrant of arrest is obtained’’.  He may have shocked Nigerians when he said ‘’the operation was valid’’  .He is optimistic the governor  will still hand over to the state Police Command.

The House Committee on NDDC, may have taken a cue from the Senate  Investigative  Committee  as it has invited  Akpbabio and  Kemebradikumo  Pondei, a Professor and the Managing Director of the agency  to appear before it on Monday, July 20, 2020.

 Recall, that Nunieh, the Rivers state born former Managing Director of the Commission, had appeared before the Committee  on Friday, July 17, 2020, where she gave her presentation, via Zoom. She was billed to appear before the House Committee last Thursday but her house was besieged by armed security men  but she  was said to have asked the  Committee members to disregard allegations and news making the rounds  that the  agency Contractors paid bribe ,  stressing that there was nothing like that.  ‘’No Contractor paid bribes to secure a job’’, she said.

Pondei, may have angered the Lawmakers when he said  he will not partake  in an Investigative hearing presided over  by the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC who  has been accused  by the Commission of ‘’ hijacking  the agency’s Contracts. Pondei, the NDDC, Managing Director, had refused to make presentations to the House Committee  on the ground that ‘’the Commission will not  get  a fair hearing’’.

Meanwhile,  President Muhammadu Buhari,  has  ordered  ‘’a speedy  and effective Coordination   among the security  and Investigating agencies along with the National Assembly into the allegations of Corruption  rocking  the NDDC.

Garba Shehu,a  senior Special Assistant to the Kastina state born Nigerian  President  on Media and Publicity, may have spoken the mind of the President when he said that  ‘’such  Coordination  had become  imperative  in view of  the Administration’s efforts to bring sanity, transparency and accountability to the management of the huge resources being allocated  to the development  of the Niger Delta sub-region yearly.  There is no gain saying the fact that between 2007 and now, billions of naira  have been allocated for the development of the region  but  nothing to show for it as the agency had  turned itself as an agency  noted for dolling out multi-million  Contracts. This may have informed why the nine states that  make  up the region  are dotted with several abandoned projects.

Many believe that the rofoRofo war of words between Nunieh, the former NDDC, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, and Akpabio, have exposed the rot in the Commission and while the region has remained underdeveloped. Many believe that the plan to kidnap the NDDC  boss by the 50 armed security men was designed to silence her from talking .

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