The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, of frustrating corruption investigations.
The house of representatives announced the suspension of all activities of its committees on August 19.
“The leadership of the house of representatives recently met and resolved that henceforth all activities of standing and ad-hoc committees be put on hold while the house is on its annual recess,” Alhassan Doguwa, the house leader, had said.
“Accordingly, all standing and ad hoc committee chairmen are hereby directed to suspend with immediate effect all committee meetings, public hearings and other engagements until the house resumes from its annual recess.”
In a statement signed by Kola Ologbondiyan (pictured), its spokesman, the PDP said the decision to shut down the sitting of various committees carrying out investigations “is a deliberate design to cover the stench of corruption oozing out of the APC administration”.
The party said such interference in the activities of the committees is to quench the fight against corruption as well as to frustrate whistleblowers because “APC has become an ocean of corruption where the members are swimming”.
“It is clear that the shutdown directive is targeted at frustrating revelations from ongoing investigations on the $500 million foreign loan from China, particularly as it relates to the mortgaging of our nation’s sovereignty to China,” the statement read.
“This is in addition to the investigations into the humongous corruption in government agencies including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) the N300 billion unremitted revenue to the federation account as well as allegations of corruption in government earnings and the expenditure in ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) under the APC.
“It is therefore unfortunate that under the Femi Gbajabiamila-led leadership, the basic responsibility of the house of representatives, which is its oversight on the executive, has just been maimed through a forced holiday on the members of the respective committees and their chairmen.
“It is equally distressing that the APC leadership of the house of representatives is breaching parliamentary rules, practices and procedures to shield APC leaders and their cronies who have been fleecing our nation.
“Our party, therefore, holds that any parliament that deliberately frustrates its statutory responsibility to call the activities of the executive to question has lost the essence of its own existence.”
The PDP said such action is calamitous to Nigeria’s democracy and charged Gbajabiamila to “stop circumventing the statutory duties of the house of representatives and placing of wedges in the way of the fight against corruption by the legislature”.
“If the honourable speaker is inclined towards allowing the covering of corruption, against the purpose for which he was elected to lead the house, then, he should take a bow and step aside.”