Joy Nunieh and Senator Akpabio
Former Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joy Nunieh, has claimed that she slapped the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, for sexually assaulting her.
She disclosed this during an interview with Arise TV where she said she is the only Nigerian woman who has slapped the minister. The incident, she said, happened at his guest house in Abuja.
“Why did he not tell Nigerians that I slapped him in his guest house at Apo? I am the only Ogoni woman, the only Nigerian woman that has slapped him. I slapped him because of his plan B. Since he couldn’t get me to take that money, he thought that he could come up on me.
“He didn’t know that I’m a Port Harcourt girl. Port Harcourt girls are not moved by money…by somebody telling me that he will make me the substantive MD. Akpabio’s meetings with me were either at Apo or Meridien…Yes, I am accusing him of sexual harassment.”
There have been accusations and counter-accusations between the minister and the ex-NDDC boss.
Her recent comment comes days after she accused the minister of fraud. She said during her brief tenure at the commission, Mr Akpabio repeatedly pressured her to take “an oath of secrecy” that was meant to keep her from exposing fraud at the commission.
Mrs Nunieh did not provide any evidence to support her claims against the minister. She added that she would have been jailed if she had succumbed to Mr Akpabio’s ‘oath of secrecy’.
Mr Akpabio, in turn, said Ms Nunieh has temperament issues. This is even as he suggested she sees a doctor.
The minister said Ms Nunieh was not relieved of her appointment because of corruption but because of insubordination.
“…No matter the allegation, I wish that she will go to the hospital, see a doctor, take some injections and relax. I’m not saying there is something wrong with her, I’m saying there is something wrong with her temperament.
“You don’t need to ask me, you can ask about four other husbands that she married…”
Mr Akpabio did not respond to phone calls and a text message on Monday seeking his response to the latest allegation.
Ms Nunieh assumed office as the acting MD of NDDC after the removal of Akwagaga Enyia in October 2019, but she was sacked four months later as the crisis rocking the commission over abuse of funds kept mounting.
President Muhammadu Buhari named Kemebradikumo Pondei, a professor of medicine, as her replacement in February.
Mr. Akpabio played a major role in the removal of Ms Nunieh.
Mr Akpabio’s relationship with the sacked NDDC chief was fraught with mutual suspicion and powerplay, according to people familiar with the matter.
Besides Mr Akpabio and Ms Nunieh, officials and ex-officials of the NDDC have been trading accusations of fraud and abuse of office since President Buhari ordered the audit of the interventionist agency’s accounts last year.
The Senate had on May 5 set up a seven-member committee to investigate the “financial recklessness” of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the commission.
The lawmakers said within the last three months, the commission spent over N40 billion without recourse to established processes of funds disbursement.
In the course of the investigative hearing, there have been revelations ranging from how lawmakers hijacked NDDC projects annually to how the commission said it used N1.5 billion to take care of its staff as COVID-19 palliative.
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