The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, Hon Uzoma Nkem Abonta has raised the alarm over the deliberate refusal of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu and other agencies of government to obey House summons over pending petitions against them and vowed that the House would apply the mechanism of the law to bring them before the Committees henceforth.
Hon Abonta who raise the alarm in Abuja at the weekend while speaking with Newsmen other agencies fingered that have flagrantly disobeyed the House to include: the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR and Petroleum Prices Product Regulatory Agency, PPPRA.
According to him, “honestly we are not having any issues or witch hunting neither are we trying to prosecute or frustrate the operations of the EFCC, in fact, we want to do everything to encourage them to continue the war against corruption.
“What we are trying to do is to call them, cause there are petitions before the House and referred to the committee on public petitions to make fact findings but severally we have invited the EFCC to come and tell us their own side of the story
“We have sent them more than seven invitations on various issues but they have deliberately failed to turn up for such invitation
“We have acknowledgment copies of all our letters and summons to them to come and give us their own side of the story so we can draw a line and advice the House accordingly
“The non-appearance of the EFCC is inhibiting our investigation in the allegations of high handedness and harassment, we can’t stop them from doing their work but we must ensure that in doing their work, they comply with the rules of engagement and laid down procedures”.
Speaking on other agencies that were involved, Abonta said “those deeply involved are the NNPC, PPPRA and DPR and this attitude has led to many inconclusive investigative hearings.
According to him, “and their non-appearance has made the House resolve to seek other lawful means to bring them before the public petitions committee because nobody is above the law, not even the Parliament and a creation of parliament cannot also be above the law.
He pointed out that most problem the committee has been faced with was that apart from the EFCC, most agencies like the NNPC, DPR accused of corrupt practices have deliberately refused to answer to the summons issued to them to give their own side of the story.
“We are bothered and worried, but we are not surprised at the leaked letter of the minister of state for petroleum resources to the president on the NNPC boss, some of these things are subjects of petitions which the NNPC have refused to come to answer to
“Their absences inhibit our work, it delays our work and makes it inconclusive, otherwise we will have to conclude with that of the petitions alone and that is not good as it is against natural justice, so that is why we will use the mechanism of the law to bring them” he stated.
Recall that the EFCC just last week refused to appear before the committee to explain the role it played when security operatives invaded property of the former First Lady Dame Patience Johnathan.
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