The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, on Monday, gave the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it, after they shunned the committee again.
The committee also issued the same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, who had also failed to honour the Committee’s previous summon.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), argued that they failed to forward letters to that effect, noting that allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be the same as allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives.
“This committee has passed a motion now that the Governor of CBN, the IGP, National Security Adviser, and the Director-General of NIMASA have between now and Thursday to appear before this committee, otherwise the parliament, the House of Representatives will invoke its power to deal with them according to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72 hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), maintained that the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
Meanwhile, according to the constitution, Section 89, subsection(1d) and 2 of the 1999 constitution gives the committees of the National Assembly powers to summon anyone in the course of an investigation. Also, the section gives the lawmakers power to issue an arrest warrant.
“Section 89 (1) “For the purposes of any investigation under section 88 of this Constitutional and subject to the provisions thereof, the Senate or the House of Representatives or a committee appointed in accordance with section 62 of this Constitution shall have power to –
(d) “issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the House or the committee in question, and order him to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refused or neglect; and any fine so imposed shall be recoverable in the same manner as a fine imposed by a court of law.
“A summons or warrant issued under this section may be served or executed by any member of the Nigeria Police Force or by any person authorised on that behalf by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may require.”
So far, the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Zainab; Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; Account General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, have appeared before the committee.
By Victor Uzoho…
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