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Did Akpabio deny his statement at the NDDC Probe?

Credit: The Guardian Nigeria 3 mins read

An Online Blog, Kaftan Post inferred that the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, sent a letter to the House of Representatives, saying he never said NASS members are the greatest beneficiaries of NDDC contracts.

According to credible media reports, Akpabio indeed sent a letter to the House of Representatives where he denied saying that the greatest beneficiaries of NDDC’s contracts were the lawmakers. 

Full Text

On July 20th, many news websites published, both in texts and audio-visuals, the investigative hearing to probe the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). At the gathering, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akppabio, reportedly said that most of the NDDC contracts go to lawmakers. The following day, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, allegedly threatened Akpabio. He gave the minister a 48-hour deadline to announce the full details of lawmakers in the 9th Assembly who got contracts from the NDDC. 

Subsequently, on July 23rd, many news reports announced that Akpabio has denied the comment he made at the Monday hearing. As reported by Kaftan Post, Akpabio said in a letter sent to the house of representatives, “I never said NASS members were greatest beneficiaries of NDDC contracts.” The same headline was also found on The Nigerian News’ report. Similarly, the report has also surfaced on Twitter as seen here, here and here.

Verification

Did Akpabio write to the house?

In the bid to ascertain if Akpabio indeed sent a letter to the house of representatives, we have consulted news reports from credible websites. Our findings are in correspondence with the claim-source as many of the sites testified to the existence of such Akpabio’s letter. According to a Premium Times article published on the same day with the claim-source, Akpabio had written the house of representatives in response to the ultimatum set for him by Gbajabiamila. “Mr Akpabio’s letter came halfway into the plenary as the speaker declared the intention of the house to drag him to court on allegations of defamation of character.”

Next, we proceeded to verify the message Akpabio had sent. We found that besides our claim author, other news media have also published similar reports, including the Punch, DailyPosts, PremiumTimes, etc.  Therefore, with all the available evidence, it is clear that this is not a case of false attribution. Akpabio indeed sent a letter where he stated that he never “referred to members of the 9th House of Representatives as beneficiaries of NDDC contracts as the NDDC is yet to fully implement any NDDC budget since the commencement of the 9th National Assembly,” a statement which derails from his initial claims at the hearing.

Dubawa had earlier gone through reports from the NDDC Probe where Akpabio outrightly said, “Most of the contracts of NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly. (video time – 00:55)” He did not specify the administration. Also, the use of the verb “are” has, in a way, suggested that he was referring to current activities. These findings are also evident in publications by credible news platforms in text and video format; Punch (video), TVC, PremiumTimes.

Conclusion 

According to credible media reports, Akpabio indeed sent a letter to the House of Representatives where he denied saying that the greatest beneficiaries of NDDC’s contracts were the lawmakers. 

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