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Reps warn Otedola over secret hearing snub

Published by Daily Trust on Sat, 07 Jul 2012

The institution of the National Assembly is bigger than any individual and must be treated as such, House spokesman Zakari Mohammed has said.Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Abuja over rejection of closed door hearing on the $620,000 bribery allegation against embattled former chairman of the House committee on subsidy probe Rep. Farouk Lawan (PDP, Kano), by oil magnate Femi Otedola, Mohammed said the Zenon chairman was not on trial before the House Ethics and Privileges committee but was invited 'as a witness'.'He cannot dictate to us how to conduct our business, the House of Representatives is not an extension of the estate of any individual. Its greater than any person including me.'You don't go to court to tell the judge how to conduct his business. The institution of the National Assembly is greater than any Nigerian, anybody no matter how highly placed,' he said.Mohammed, who chairs the House committee on Media and Publicity, said according to the provisions of section 60 of the 1999 constitution, the National Assembly can decide its own business in a manner it deem fit and that the Ethics and Privileges committee led by Rep. Gambo Dan Musa (CPC, Katsina) did not go outside the law to hold a closed door hearing.He expressed concern about the recent airing of audio conversation between Otedola and Lawan saying, 'it's meant to distract attention from the main issue of implementation of the subsidy report. It's a calculated and deliberate attempt to distract attention from the rot in the oil sector.'Mohammed said in January when the probe commenced, the parliament had alerted Nigerians that these things would be brought up to rubbish the subsidy report.'We urge the executive and the relevant anti-corruption agencies to step up action so that Nigerians will not be treated to a movie of sort. The report is sacrosanct,' he said.
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