As tongues continue to wag over the report of the House of Representatives committee that probed fuel subsidy management, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has summoned the House leadership to an emergency meeting.
LEADERSHIP gathered that Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal led other principal officers of the House to the meeting which was held yesterday night at Legacy House in Maitama, Abuja.
Though details of the meeting were sketchy at press time when it was still going on, it was gathered that the meeting was connected to the increasing pressure on the lawmakers to bury the Farouk Lawan-led ad-hoc committee’s report scheduled for consideration in the House today.
According to a competent source in the National Assembly, this may be part of a scheme by those uncomfortable with the outcome of the investigative committee on the fuel subsidy regime and are hell-bent on ensuring that the report is killed.
Already, news making the rounds indicated that some oil firms that were indicted are making desperate efforts to ensure that today’s sitting gets rowdy so as to prevent consideration of the report.
But in a swift reaction to the thickening plots against the report of the fuel subsidy probe, the House, through its spokesman Zakari Mohammed, said that consideration of the report would go on (today) as scheduled without any interruption whatsoever.
“Nothing can stop the consideration and adoption of the subsidy probe report. Those who have nothing to hide should not fear because it is not about them, but those whose hands are not clean will not go unmentioned. The law must take its course,” he stated.
Though he admitted that were pressures on the speaker and the entire leadership of the House to protect the interests of some people in authority, “we have resolved to stick to the recommendations of the report and would take our time to peruse the work.
“As the House of Representatives begins a clause-by-clause consideration of the report today, we urge all Nigerians to be vigilant and wary of those who would rather the country continued to be run in the usual corruption-laden way, which puts unmerited resources in individual pockets at the expense of the people,” Zakari added.
Also reacting to the alleged plot to impeach the speaker over the fuel subsidy report, his special adviser, Imam Imam, in a statement yesterday, said the speaker was “unfazed by the stories about impeachment or no impeachment. He is very focused about what he promised Nigerians when he was elected, which are transparent leadership and selfless service”.
The speaker, while assuring Nigerians on the survival of the report, added that “the subsidy probe is one in a series of very important probes that the House has initiated and Nigerians should be rest assured that the House members will not be deterred until the polity is cleansed”.
He maintained that “members of the House of Representatives know that, as legislators, they are bound to face threats and resistance from many quarters. The important thing is that we will not be intimidated by anybody or group”.
In the same vein, renowned legal luminary Prof Itse Sagay has allayed the fears of Nigerians for the non-implementation of the fuel subsidy report saying that the lawmakers are constitutionally empowered to appoint a special prosecutor through a resolution of the House.
Prof Sagay added: “Yes, the House can appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case if there is doubt about the commitment of EFCC. The legality will depend on how it is conceptualised. The basic right in the Common Law enables them to do so and there’s no need for a new law in the statute book.
“It will be resisted. Technicalities will be raised, but there is no reason why this should not be. Another way, however, is to ask the attorney-general of the federation to prosecute and, if he fails, it gives the National Assembly fiat to do it like Gani did in the case of Dele Giwa.
“He could do it as a private prosecutor. I also want to state that the report shows that there was never any subsidy. Money was just paid to marketers illegally.”
On the possibility of arresting and prosecuting those found wanting in the probe by the EFCC, a source at the commission said that they are not bound by law to accept the recommendations of the House probe, but stressed that the commission under its new leadership was more interested in doing a thorough job.
“The commission has been monitoring the House probe and is aware of the report that was made public. But that is not to say that the commission will not carry out its lawful duty of investigating any financial crime and pursue prosecution of those found guilty,” the source said “I want to assure you that the EFCC has changed. The chairman of the EFCC today believes, first and foremost, in thorough investigations and establishment of proof. Arrest is the last thing in the activities lined up”.
The source further noted: “Yes, we would order arrest of persons after we have effectively established their offence. For now, our operatives are in different locations trying to source information that will enable the EFCC establish a financial crime case against those involved.”
Via Leadership Newspaper
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