Akpabio’s visit had nothing to with NDDC probe – House of Reps

House of Representatives spokesman Hon Benjamin Kalu has dismissed media reports that the reason behind Tuesday’s visit of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, to the National Assembly was to settle issues in regard to the probe of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Hon Kalu explained that there was no way the Minister could interfere with the probe, stating that the investigation had already been concluded and the report had been submitted by the committee.

The Minister on Tuesday paid a visit to the newly appointed clerk of the National Assembly, Ojo Amos Olatunde, in his office at the National Assembly Complex.

Akpabio had told reporters that the purpose of his visit was primarily to familiarise himself with the National Assembly clerk and to solicit continuous cooperation of the National Assembly towards the development of the Niger Delta region.

House spokesman Kalu, shedding more light on the Minister’s visit, said: ‘As representatives of the people, our doors are open to everyone, including Ministers, as they are part of the people we represent. If they knock on our door, we must open it and hear them out.

‘The Honorable Minister supervising the NDDC was at the National Assembly on Tuesday to familiarise [himself] with the new clerk of the National Assembly. It has nothing to do with the House of Representatives or the Senate. As a former member of the National Assembly, Akpabio has access to the National Assembly at all times, because once a senator, always a senator.’

Speaking further, Kalu confirmed that the report of the investigation had already been submitted.

In his words: ‘The agency under Akpabio’s Ministry has undergone an investigation, and a report on the concluded NDDC probe is currently before the House of Representatives for consideration. His visit today has nothing to do with the finished investigation but to finetune the relationship moving forward for the interest of the Niger Delta region.’

‘The National Assembly has been asked severally if it supports the idea of the party legislature and executive coming together to discuss from time to time about issues of national importance, the answer is yes, we are in support of this; that is why the leadership of the two houses, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila (Speaker of the House) and Sen Ahmad Idris Lawan (President of the Senate) are key partners of President Muhammadu Buhari’s new project of the tripartite committee.The purpose is to make sure the dividends of democracy reach the people.’

Kalu assured that members of the ruling All progressive’s congress (APC) in the National Assembly were working in unison with the Executive arm to achieve the party’s manifesto.

He said: ‘All the same, the manifesto of the party that brought the Government into place is pursued and protected by the three arms of government though they may differ, yet the purpose of government should remain the same and be the focal point.

‘Our assurance to Nigerians is that we understand the mandate of section 88 and 89 of the oversight functions, and we will never sacrifice it on the grounds of relationship. Although it is good to have relationships within the arms of government, no arm of government should sacrifice her independence based on a cordial relationship with the other arm of government.’

All the principles of separation of power are following our relationship with the arms of the government. The visit of any Minister to the National Assembly will not stop the legislative functions of the House.’

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