Youths storm N’Assembly over scandal
THE House of Representatives’ bid to track down the alleged $620,000 gratification to its Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Monitoring yesterday generated more posers than envisaged.
Acting on a letter from the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar that the Lower Chamber produce the exhibit money, the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, sent a memo to the Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Jagaba Adams Jagaba, who was allegedly in custody of the money to respond so that the Legislature could act on the matter.
Jagaba in a swift response, said there was no time such money was given to him or the panel to keep.
Suspended Chairman of the House Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Monitoring, Farouk Lawan, had allegedly claimed that the Jagaba panel “took custody of the money” he received from the Chairman of Zenon Oil Limited, Mr. Femi Otedola.
Jagaba in his reply to Tambuwal, denied knowledge of the bribe and being in possession of the money.
In the letter dated June 19, 2012, Jagaba said: “I wish to categorically and unequivocally state that there was never a time I was in possession of the sum of $620,000 or any other exhibits (in my personal capacity or official capacity as chairman of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes) relating to the subject matter of the above investigation.
“I hope this explanation lays to rest once and for all the claims that my committee or myself is in possession of the sum of $620,000 purportedly given as bribe to the Ad-hoc Committee on Monitoring of Fuel Subsidy Regime.”
The letter was entitled: “Re-Investigation activities: Request for handing over of exhibits in connection with a case of criminal conspiracy and taking gratification to prevent the course of justice.
Tambuwal’s letter also dated June 19, 2012 was signed by his Special Adviser on Legal and Legislative Matters, Chille Igbawa.
Mohammed had requested Tambuwal to supply information on the $620,000 exhibit as well as any other material evidence that may be of use to the investigation.
Meanwhile, a coalition of youth groups under the aegis of Nigerian Youths for Good Governance yesterday besieged the gate of the National Assembly in Abuja, demanding a thorough probe of the $620,000 bribery allegation levelled against Lawan.
The House had during its emergency session last Friday disowned the Lawan, saying he should face the law if found guilty of the scam.
Lawan, who headed the eight-man panel has also been relieved of his position as Chairman of the House Committee on Education, pending the outcome of the investigation of the matter by the House Ethics and Privileges Committee.
The angry placard-carrying youths led by Joe Mesele chanted solidarity songs and called on the leadership of the National Assembly to begin the process that would sanitise the parliament.
Some of the banners displayed by the youths read: “Nigerian youths say no to legislative corruption. Let us sanitise the parliament, the last hope of the masses. Budget inflation must stop in Nigeria.”
The National Coordinator of the Nigerian Unemployed Youths Vanguard, Solomon Adodo, told journalists that the coalition was at the National Assembly to voice its grievances to the leadership and to caution the lawmakers against acts of corruption.
The President of Youths Coalition against Unemployment, Agbo Richard, lamented the level of corruption in the country, which he, was responsible for the worsening plight of tNigerian youths,