Job racketeering: Reps deny bribery allegation summon NUC, Vice Chancellors

Elizabeth AtimeAugust 29, 20234 min

Rep. Gagdi said prior to the commencement of the hearing, he warned committee members that they would be targets of mischief makers.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating job racketeering in Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), Rep. Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau) has summoned all the Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities to appear before it on Friday, over allegation of bribery and extortion by a member of the ad-hoc committee.

Gagdi, who issued the notice on Tuesday, at the resumed investigative hearing on job racketeering, insisted that the Vice Chancellors owe it to the committee and Nigerians to give documentary evidence on the allegation of extortion.

He also expressed displeasure with the online report titled: “Nigerian lawmakers probing job racketeering are extorting money from agencies”, adding that it was unfair to tag all the 37 members of the committee as “corrupt”.

Gagdi, who stressed that the ad-hoc committee would not be deterred by any form of sponsored blackmail, said if, at all, the author of the report and the Vice Chancellors had any information on any member of the committee, such report should have been channeled towards the member instead of involving all the members of the ad-hoc committee.

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“Regarding what we are hearing and what we are seeing, first I would like to tell Nigerians that this committee is not going to be deterred from discharging its responsibility. Nigerians have hope in this committee from the way we are conducting the business, everybody is seeing what we are doing.

“We will not compromise by hiding and aiding irregularities going on in the public service, no amount of statements accusing this committee will deter us from doing our job.

“You may have your problem with a member of this committee but, don’t blackmail the entire committee.

“I’m saying this because I am not being accused of doing anything, but if you have issues that you want to make public about a member of this committee, sort it out with him, don’t put anything on the faces of members of this committee.

“We are determined to do justice to Nigerians in the course of this investigation. My only appeal to the members of the fourth estate of the realm – the press is, to be credible Journalists. If you have anything to say about us, be categorical. Don’t accuse my members blindly. Tell us who is accusing who, instead of tagging this committee corrupt.”

The lawmaker further said, “It’s unacceptable to us. We are not, and we will never be. Nigerians have hope in us and this will be the first in the history of the National Assembly that you will see mind-blowing recommendations that are aimed at cleaning our public service.

“So, the statement is simple, we will not be deterred. But don’t bring an indicting headline in the name of selling your newspaper or agency. We will move forward, and we will do the needful, we are not going to surrender,” he stressed.

While noting that the committee had no problem with the information the online platform had regarding one of the members or some of them, Gagdi informed that: “From day one of this committee, I told them that we are going to be fought, we are going to be chastised, we are going to be witch-hunted but we are going to do this job to the best of our ability.

“I do not look like someone that needs N2 million from the head of an agency, but the quarrel we have with you is the way the report came out, which does not look balanced and professional.”

In his final remarks, Gagdi directed the clerk of the committee to write the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), to ensure that all the Vice Chancellors appear before the committee on Friday with a view to clarifying the allegation.

He said: “The meeting with the Vice Chancellors was presided over by Wole Oke. From the report given to me, it was done publicly here. The plan was that we would meet with them institution by institution sometime next week. But, in view of certain developments, the clerk should summon the Vice Chancellors to appear through the National Universities Commission on Friday. We have to sit on Friday.

“Let the letter reach the commission today, I want to personally sign the letter so that some of these things will be done in the character of the committee publicly, for us to ask questions on what particularly, the members of the press will want to hear,” he said.

Elizabeth Atime

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