From JOSHUA EGBODO, Abuja
SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said that the House has not backed out on its call for the full implementation of report of its adhoc committee that investigated the management of the country’s fuel subsidy regime.
The House had at the wake of the nationwide crisis generated by Government’s decision to totally remove fuel subsidy in December last year ordered an investigation into alleged corrupt practices in the distribution of subsidy funds, fallout of which saw the Farouk Lawan-led adhoc panel recommending the prosecution and further investigation of some oil marketers and government functionaries.
Tambuwal who received members of the Anti-Corruption Network, a Non-Governmental Organization with especial focus on anti corruption on a courtesy visit yesterday however, lamented the attitude of some government agencies saddled with responsibility of fighting corruption of not co-operating with House enough, when issues of corrupt practices are raised.
He said “one of our greatest problems as a nation is corruption but ironically we are behaving as if it is not an issue. We seemed to be condoning corruption. When we say let us check something, people get panicky,” adding that anybody thinking that the House of Representatives has forgotten the subsidy probe report was “wasting his time.”
While pledging the total support of the House to the ideologies of the Dino Melaye-led Anti-Corruption Network and other related civil society groups, Tambuwal disclosed that the House would embark on quarterly oversight monitoring of budget implementation as against yearly exercise.
On issues of Constitutional amendment and key areas suggested by the group for the House to look into, Tambuwal said the amendment committee was already working on them, especially as a Bill seeking the separation of office of the Attorney-General of the Federation from that of the Minister of Justice had scaled second reading.
Executive Secretary of the group and former member of the House of Representatives, Mr Dino Melaye who led the delegation had told the Speaker that it was the opinion of the Network that the power to appoint Chairmen of INEC, ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau from the President, suggesting that in the alternative, such appointment should made by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
He also demanded that the controversial immunity clause which gave undue protection to the President and the Vice President as well as Governors and their Deputies should be expunged as the ongoing Constitution review progresses, and the need for the National Assembly to scale-up its oversight function as a way out of the incessant probes.
“We are skiing that the immunity clause should not only be removed but should be totally forgotten. This will make such leaders live above board,” he stated, adding that the immunity clause was an aberration in the nation’s constitution.
From JOSHUA EGBODO, Abuja