OrderPaperToday – The Inspector General of Police, Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor are among heads of agencies that shunned a hearing by the ad-hoc Committee of the House investigating the assessment and status of all recovered loot, movable and immovable assets from 2002 to 2020.
This elicited fury from members of the committee who threatened to go on strike and shut down the parliament if heads of agencies created by law would not honour invitation by lawmakers probing the status of recovered loot in the country.
The committee resolved to give the concerned heads of agencies 72 hours to appear before them or risk sanctions provided under the law.
At the resumed hearing of the committee on Monday 7, June 2021, its chairman, Mr. Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo) expressed disappointment over the non-appearance of heads of various invited agencies of government.
He further sought to know how many of the agencies were present but to his dismay all the aforementioned agencies sent representatives without a formal or official communication to the Committee which infuriated the chairman.
“You are indirectly undermining the entire parliament, not just the House of Representatives but the entire institution,” he fumed.
He went on to accuse the representatives of impersonating the agencies they claim to represent since they could not tender a formal letter of introduction from their principals assigning them to represent them accordingly.
“You said you are representing CBN do you have a letter to that effect, if no then you are impersonating. You are a government official aren’t you? Is that the procedure? That someone just walks into an event and says he is representing you without a formal letter of introduction, because as far as we are concerned, you are an imposter. I will therefore yield the floor to my colleagues in case they have anything to say,” he said.
Moving a motion in that regard, Mr. Isiaka Ibrahim (APC, Ogun) decried the lack of respect accorded the parliament by various agencies of government despite being a creation of the parliament.
“These agencies of government that are products of the National Assembly having been established by law are the same ones that undermine the same process that gave birth to them. Apart from being established by law passed by the National Assembly, the heads are the ones sent to the Senate for confirmation. I am worried that when they are invited and the National Assembly is taken for granted like this. This calls for serious concern. If it require bringing it up on the floor of the House, we should do so and if possible, we should shut down the National Assembly.
“If agencies of government, by the provisions of section 88 and 89, are not going to respect us, then we have no reasons to be here. You keep solving one problem here and there and things keep going bad. This is an interactive session to find solution to our problems. I think that if those invited are not here and they refused to send letters, we appeal to them to ensure that they course appearance latest by Thursday. If they failed, the necessary provisions of the constitution should be invoked to make sure everything goes normal”.
The motion was adopted by the committee and the chairman in his final remarks stated that it will give the agencies till Thursday to appear, threatening to issue sanctions, in line with sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution, if they failed to do so.
“This Committee has passed a motion that the governor of CBN, Inspector General of Police, the National Security Adviser and the Director General of NIMASA have between now and Thursday to appear before this Committee. Otherwise, the parliament will invoke its powers to deal with them according to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I am appalled by the actions of the agencies because it is indirectly insulting the National Assembly, not my person and I need you to communicate that to the Heads of the agencies that it is not the Chairman of committee that you are being impolite to. I don’t want to use the word insult or rude. You indirect action is undermining the entire parliament, not just the House of Representatives, but the entire institution of the National Assembly and that will not be taken by this parliament”.
This is not the first time that officials of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration will be shunning the parliament on the issue of recovered loot.