Posted by By MARIAM ALESHINLOYE AGBOOLA, Jos and VAL OKARA, Owerri on
Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Barrister Simon Lalong and seven others principal officers of the House have been summoned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Barrister Simon Lalong and seven others principal officers of the House have been summoned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). They are required to appear before the commission Wednesday.
Reacting to this, the lawmakers turned down the invitation, while restating its earlier summon to EFCC’s director of operator, Ibrahim Lamorde, to appear before it on or before February 10 to be cross-examined on evidence he provided against Governor Joshua Dariye.
EFCC’s letter of invitation to the Speaker of the House, dated January 30, 2006, stated that the commission was investigating a case of conspiracy, abuse of office, official corruption, fraudulent conservation of funds and money laundering in which the names of the officers invited featured prominently.
These officers include the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Usman Zumunta; Majority leader, Mr. Geoffery Teme; Minority Leader Rufus Bature and chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Benchak Dalop.
Others are Mr. Gambo Nbilamut, chairman information committee; the Clerk of the House, Mr. Shiolbial Cornelius and the director of finance, Mr. Gandina Sambo, who Daily Sun gathered is already in the custody of the EFCC.
The letter, which was signed by Ibrahim Lamorde, for the Executive Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, requires the officer to report at the EFCC office at 15 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in respect of the investigation.
However, at the House sitting Tuesday, lawmakers noted that the new development would disorganise the House. They noted that the seven-man committee set up by the House to investigate the money laundering allegation brought against Governor Dariye and headed by the deputy speaker would be rendered ineffective if he, the secretary and three other members on the EFCC list were arrested.
The House equally observed that by rendering the committee ineffective, Mr. Lamorde of the EFCC would not need to appear before it to be cross examined, noting that in the event of this, the committee and by extention, the House would be seen to have failed in carrying out its constitutional responsibility and therefore cause disaffection among the electorate and the generality of the citizens of Plateau State.
The house therefore, resolved not to honour the invitation.
The House restated its invitation to Lamorde to appear before its special committee as agreed upon earlier, on or before February 10, 2006.
The lawmakers said they would resist any attempt to hoodwink, stampede or arm twist them into making any decision that is not in accordance with the House rules and constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While insisting that all 24 members endorsed the decision arrived at, the House resolved that an attack on any member was an attack on the entire House.
"As a product of a genuine democratic system, we shall resist and reject any undemocratic process or procedure," it concluded.
Meanwhile, the EFFC has quizzed a member of Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Agaptus Egbuogu.
Hon. Egbuogu, who represents Isu Local Government Council in the State House of Assembly was said to have been invited to the EFCC headquarters, Lagos over alleged past dealings.
Daily Sun gathered that the lawmaker was drilled by officials of the EFCC for over five hours before he was allowed to go.
Confirming the incident to Daily Sun, Hon. Emma Dike, chairman, information committee in the House, said the invitation of Hon. Egbuogu had nothing to do with the activities of the House.
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