Probe into Alleged Corruption Continues after Resumption, Says House Leader

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By Adedayo Akinwale

The House of Representatives has assured Nigerians that all pending investigations into allegations of corruption in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) will continue when the House reconvenes, saying it has no plan to cover up any corrupt engagement.

The Leader of the House, Hon. Alhassan Doguwa, disclosed this in a statement issued Monday, where he insisted that the Green Chamber has not in any way discontinued the probe as alleged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to him, “On other investigations into government agencies including Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust (NSITF), the review of the Nigerian Power Sector as well as all other allegations of corruption in government expenditure, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) have not in any way been discontinued as alleged by the PDP as all the pending investigations will continue as the House reconvenes.

“I must also make it clear that the House of Representatives has no clandestine plans or motives to cover up any corrupt engagement or business of the government. But as rational and progressive members, we are indeed committed to our partnership with Buhari administration to fight corruption in all ramifications, and provide good governance.”

Doguwa stressed that the House under the leadership of the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, would remain focused, committed and well-guided in safeguarding the institutional integrity of the House without necessarily jeopardising its good working relationship with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

He added that it was repulsive for the PDP that has seemingly lost the actual meaning and essence of opposition to have brought in undue politics into a matter of national interest, especially at the time of prevailing health and economic challenges.

The House Leader noted that while the PDP should not be glorified with a response by wasting precious time required for fixing the economic woes which they recklessly plunged the country into, it has become imperative, for the sake of educating their targeted sympathizers, to set the record unambiguously straight.

Doguwa said it was ridiculous to discover that the PDP, a supposedly major opposition party in the country, does not know the workings of the National Assembly, let alone knowing where the constitution or House procedures have been breached.

He said it was worthy of note that it has never been the practice or tradition of the House to continue with indoor committee engagements while on annual recess as it is obtainable in developed democracies like US, especially now that the world is being faced with a global health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The House Leader pointed out that PDP was always desperate in its typical nature, because if it had done its homework well, it would know that committees do not sit during House annual summer recess.

He stated: “It will be of interest to the PDP, the investigations the House is currently undertaking including the Chinese loans cover the 16 years the PDP was in power when most of the loans were obtained. So, maybe they should be thanking the House leadership for covering up their misdeeds. Hence, making reference to the recent $500 billion China loan by the PDP spokesman which has already been approved by the National Assembly through a transparent and formal request was either a deliberate misrepresentation of facts or an utter ignorance of the history.

“In fact, the PDP lacks the moral standing to accuse the leadership of the House for abetting corruption or protecting questionable officials from the ongoing investigation. For us in the the All Progressives Congress (APC), fighting the menace of corruption by prosecuting corrupt individuals has been the cardinal objective of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. Therefore, to vindicate the administration and leadership of the House, for the first time in history, many high-profile individuals including former ministers, former governors and public office holders have been prosecuted and convicted without prejudice or unnecessary reflection on party affiliation.”

The House Leader said it is also good for the PDP to summon the strength to understand that the ongoing investigations and public hearings were all and genuinely initiated by the APC leadership in the House, adding that at no time did the House leadership mull over frustrating same.

Doguwa said the leadership of the House has observed with great sense of responsibility, the deteriorating working relationship with the executive arm of government which was mostly due to misconducts and sometimes deliberate and calculated attempt by some disgruntled government officials to drag the institution of the legislature into needless controversies for political gains.

He pointed out that the leadership was therefore poised to rise to this unfortunate occasion with a view to bringing sanity to the system.

According to him, the fact that the House is empowered by the constitution to oversight government agencies does not in any way mean it should do that with injurious intentions, adding that after all, the wisdom of the oversight duties in the constitution was not to engage in a bickering with the executive.

However, he added that the House leadership has come to realize that this flimsy and trumped up accusations from the PDP has rather exposed its blind and visionless political desperation to cause crisis in the polity by using some of its members in the House to foment trouble between the Executive and APC-controlled National Assembly.