Journalism of Courage

Nigerian House of Representatives presses perjury charge against Buhari’s minister 

..."We will not allow anyone to assassinate the character of the House in an attempt to deflect accountability for their conduct in office"


Following the expiration of the 48-hour ultimatum given a Minister to publish the names of NDDC contracts beneficiaries, the House of Representatives is heading to court to press perjury.

Peeved by the failure of Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, to name lawmakers who he claimed got 60 per cent of NDDC contracts, the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabimila, a lawyer, has directed the Clerk of the House to engage the services of a legal counsel to file a suit of perjury against him.

PerSecondnews recalls that on July 21 the Speaker had issued a 48 hours deadline to Akpabio to publish the names of lawmakers and details of contracts awarded to them.

He gave the directive at the plenary on Thursday while reacting to the failure of the minister to substantiate his claims.

He recalled that the during the House Committee on NDDC public hearing on the alleged financial malfeasance amounting to N40 billion in the commission, Akpabio had said under oath that 60 per cent of contracts in the commission were awarded to lawmakers.

According to Gbajabiamila, the minister’s statement intends solely to “gaslight the nation from the maladministration and malfeasance in the NDDC”.

“I recognise that the House has not always lived up to the high expectations of the Nigerian people.

“As much as we still have a lot to do in that regard, I refuse to sit here in good conscience and allow anyone to assassinate the character of the House in an attempt to deflect accountability for their conduct in office.

“Such mendacity as was witnessed at the public hearing will not be tolerated from anybody no matter how highly placed.

“This morning, I asked the Clerk of the House of Representatives to engage the services of legal counsel, and instruct them to initiate a criminal complaint of perjury against the Minister.

“At the same time, we will instruct counsel to explore the possibility of a civil defamation suit against the Minister,” the Speaker said.

Gbajabimila noted that the House is a public trust placed in the care of lawmakers, stressing that they must prove worthy of this public trust or risk the censure of history.

Lawmakers will resist every attempt to undermine the institution, whether such attempts come from within or from outside, he vowed.

Gbajabiamila assured Nigerians that the House will live up to their expectations.

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