James Emejo in Abuja
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Safety and National Intelligence were yesterday held aback by the attitude of the Chairman of the Presidential Review Panel (PRP) on the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, who was summoned with respect to the missing $44 million in the agency.
The committee which was saddled with the responsibility of probing into the disappearance of the money and the circumstances surrounding the appointment of Mr. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar as Director General of NIA was held up by Kingibe and his colleagues when the latter Â refused to take their seats.
The PRP chaired by Kingibe had been summoned by the committee to explain its role in the alleged disappearance of the $44million, as well as Abubakarâ€™s appointment.
But on getting to the venue of the hearing yesterday, Kingibe stood for a few minutes when the Clerk of the Committee approached him, asking him and his colleagues to take their seats.
But the former ambassador declined, saying: â€œNo, I wonâ€™t sit down. What is all these, do you people want to make a show of us?â€
Then the Clerk urged him to see the committee Chairman, Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji who was seated with his colleagues awaiting Kingibeâ€™s arrival.
But instead of approaching the chairman as protocol demands in the National Assembly, Kingibe said: â€œNo! I wonâ€™t go there, you tell him to come.â€
Out of courtesy, the chairman rose from his seat and met, as they both stepped out of the hearing room.
After a few minutes of discussion outside, the duo returned to the room with the committee chairman wearing a long face.
Having finally agreed to sit following his discussion with the chairman, Kingibe began the introduction of his panel members by saying: â€œIâ€™m the chairman of the Presidential Review Panelâ€ without actually mentioning his name.
He also tried to introduce other members of the panel, but the committee chairman interrupted him, saying he should allow the men to introduce themselves.
However, the former ambassador ignored the chairmanâ€™s observation and said: â€œall of these men you see here are above 70 years old with a combined age of over 300 years.
As expected after the introduction, the chairman announced that journalists should leave the hall for members to have a closed door session with Kingibe and his panel members.