628 MILLION NAIRA SCAM TEARS HOUSE APART
The day finally came after a long recess by the house of representatives. It was supposed to be a day of deliberation over the 628 million naira scam by the speaker and her deputy, but instead it was ‘war’, chaos in the house of representatives. House members who are for and against Speaker Patricia Etteh exchanged words as the speaker tried to table the matter.
The much expected deliberation on the issue was short lived as the Speaker gladly took the opportunity to avoid carrying her cross (atleast for one day) as she announced a one-day adjournment to honor the late Senate President.
The house spokesman has however denied any chaos occurring in the house, though that could be hard to believe ,looking at past events in the house.
In the mean time people around the country have continued to vice their concerns in the matter; three young men who claimed to represent the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) were arrested by security agents at the back entrance of the National Assembly on account of distributing inciting leaflets against the Speaker, Ghali Umar Na’Abba has adviced her to submit herself to probe, the Action Congress is accusing the National Assembly management of attempts to cover up the scandal., the ‘Integrity Group’ of the House has revealed that the meeting at which the contract was awarded was not properly constituted in that no quorum of statutory members was formed; that the meeting lasted only 40 minutes despite the huge amount involved in the award and that costing was indeed duplicated in some instances.What happened in the house is nothing Nigerians should be proud of,it took Eight men of the Sergeant-at Arms, commanded by retired Col. Emeka Okere to restore order to a house supposed to be the most ordered in the country.
.The management have continued to defend their stand that due process was followed, however there are still a lot of questions left unanswered: Was the expenditure of N628 million naira or whatever amount provided for in the House budget for fiscal 2007? Who authorized the awards of the contracts and did she/he have the powers to do so? In the light of Mr President’s low profile style of governance and indeed the socio-economic realities of the country, was the expenditure justified and was due process followed in the award of the contract? "There is always a tomorrow, the truth cannot be hidden. The days of scammers walking free in Nigeria must stop.