Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Public Petitions, Hon. Nkem Abonta has declared that his committee was not against investigation of former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He also noted that the non appearance of the EFCC is inhibiting it’s investigation in the allegations of high handedness and harassment against the commission.
Abonta explained that activities of his committee are meant to encourage the investigation, thereby vowed to apply the mechanism of the law to bring them before the House.
“we can’t stop them from doing their work but we must ensure that in doing their work, they comply with the rules of engagement and laid down procedures,” he said.
Other agencies that allegedly ignore the House summons include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Petroleum Product Prices Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
“Their absence inhibits our work, it delays our work and makes it inconclusive, otherwise we will have to conclude with that of the petitions alone and that is not good as it is against natural justice, so that is why we will use the mechanism of the law to bring them,” he stated.
He however denied that the committee is witch hunting EFCC or any government agency.
“Honestly we are not having any issues or witch hunting neither are we trying to prosecute or frustrate the operations of the EFCC, in fact we want to do everything to encourage them to continue the war against corruption,” he said.
Abonta added that; “What we are trying to do is to call them, cause there are petitions before the House and referred to the committee on public petitions to make fact findings but severally we have invited the EFCC to come and tell us their own side of the story.
According to him, the have sent them more than seven invitations on various issues but they have deliberately failed to turn up for such invitation.
“We have acknowledgement copies of all our letters and summons to them to come and give us their own side of the story so we can draw a line and advice the House accordingly.
When poinasked if other government agencies were involved, Abonta said “those deeply involved are the NNPC, PPPRA and DPR and this attitude has led to many inconclusive investigative hearings.
“And their non appearance has made the House resolve to seek other lawful means to bring them before the public petitions committee, because nobody is above the law, not even the Parliament and a creation of parliament cannot also be above the law.
Abonta added that most problem the committee is faced with is that apart from the EFCC, most agencies like the NNPC, DPR accused of corrupt practices have deliberately refused to answer to the summons issued to them to give their own side of the story.
“We are bothered and worried, but we are not surprised at the leaked letter of the minister of state for petroleum resources to the president on the NNPC boss, some of these things are subjects of petitions which the NNPC have refused to come to answer to.