Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP-Abia), a member of the House Committee on Public Petitions has technically presented a lead to what may have transpired to effect the leakage of the petition written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the embattled Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu.
It would be recalled that the ongoing rift between the Minister and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) began last week with leakage of a petition sent to the President by the Minister, alleging insubordination and abuse of office over a long time.
Addressing Legislative Correspondents in Abuja, against the background of serial refusal of the ministry’s agencies to appear on invitations, he said “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”.
Abonta who expressed displeasure over the series of petitions against the regulatory agencies in the oil and gas industry, 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 problems the committee are 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.
“Their absences 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,” the Abia lawmaker said.
Continuing, Nkem-Abonta noted that “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”.
“What we are trying to do is to call them, because 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.
“We 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,” the lawmaker averred.