The Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL), which on June 13 called for the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, now wants the arrest of the Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, saying he has a case to answer.
At a press conference today addressed by its President, Abdul Mahmud, PILL said it has taken steps in the past two weeks to establish the connection of certain principal members of the House to the bribe saga, and has come to the irresistible conclusion that Mr. Ihedioha has a case to answer.
Mr. Mahmud pointed out that in these trying times for Nigeria and for such an august body as the House which is charged that with the constitutional responsibility of law making, it is important that all Nigerians help to restore the confidence in it, and that Nigerians can only come to that decision when the truth is established and the guilt of individual and principal members of the House is established.
“For us, our responsibility is to expose the rotten bones and flesh masquerading as leaders of the House of Representatives,” he said of the work of PILL.
Mr. Mahmud said that his League’s allegations against Mr. Ihedioha are set out in its petitions to the Special Task Force; Ethics and Privileges Committee of the House of Representatives; Independent Corrupt Practices Commission; and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.
He drew special attention to PILL’s petition to the police, in which it asked for the widening of the scope of the investigation to include a comprehensive look into the activities and the role of the Deputy Speaker of Mr. Ihedioha in the Farouk Lawan bribe saga.
In the petition, PILL stressed that the Police Special Task Force owes Nigerians the greater responsibility of coming to the truth of the bribe saga by unearthing and exposing those who are connected to the shameless incident of bribery and who hide inside the shadowy recesses of the House and pretend that they cannot unearthed and or who work the system within the House to cover their perfidious trails.
“No matter the positions of these individuals, it is in our national interest to use this opportunity the bribe saga avails us to cleanse the House and redeem its image for our collective good,” the petition said. “The greatest failing of any August legislative body is for the citizenry not to repose confidence in it.”
In that regard, the petition called on the Special Task Force to avail itself of the following disclosures:
• That the bribery was coordinated by Mr. Ihedioha;
• That two members of the House: one member of the Ad Hoc Committee and one non-member, arranged contacts with oil marketers and collected bribes for Mr. Ihedioha;
• That contacts and collections took place at the home of a member of the House who is like Mr. Ihedioha is from Imo State; and
• That Mr. Ihedioha sat at the core bribe-receiving syndicate, with his accomplices (all sitting members of the House) operating from the margins.
Drawing attention to a variety of pertinent questions that need to be asked, PILL also called for, among others:
• An immediate and unfettered inspection of the records of the proceedings of the Ad Hoc Committee and of the House, particularly the records of proceedings of the House on April18;
• An order of production to be served on Channels Television for the audio-visual clip posted on YouTube and titled, ‘$3 million bribery: Farouk Lawan request removal of Otedola’s company from fuel subsidy report’;
• That PILL be allowed to serve interrogatories on the Special Task Force for Mr. Ihedioha and his other accomplices that PILL will name; and
• That Mr. Ihedioha be made to take a polygraph test.
Encouraging the Special Task Force to proceed with its statutory duties without fail, PILL said that if it failed to do so within seven days of the receipt of the petition, it would not hesitate to seek for a Mandamus to compel it to discharge its public legal duty.