$3.5 billion: Marafa’s committee embroiled in compromise accusation – By Bakare Majeed

$3.5 billion: Marafa’s committee embroiled in compromise accusation – By Bakare Majeed

The former Senate leader, Ali Ndume has accused the Senate committee on petroleum (Downstream) of compromise.

Ndume said the committee has been compromised on the dealings with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The accusations sparked a war of words between Ndume and chairman of the Committee, Sen Kabir Marafa.

This follows a report stating that the $3.5 billion budget recovery fund for subsidy is being singlehandedly used by the Managing Director and the Executive Director of Finance of the NNPC.

The Minority Leader, Abiodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti) in a point of order on Tuesday, called for a probe because the money is being spent without recourse to the national assembly.

While the chamber earlier resolved that the Senate committee on downstream should investigate the issue, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) raised objections against the resolution, noting that the committee could have been compromised.

He said, “Let us take the matter as it comes into the Senate seriously because issues like this when raised should be looked at.

“I think the committee, I don’t want to be too hard on them, and the committee is not doing its oversight and when all these things happen, the committee is supposed to know.

“So I am suggesting that Marafa being the chairman of that committee should be out of this and the committee members too.

Also Read: Tambuwal – NNPC stinks with corruption

“The Senate leader and others members of the Senate should look at this thing objectively and in a nonpartisan way because, by the time you have such amount of money stashed somewhere, it calls for more question. As distinguished Senator Bukar Abba said not me, said the committee might be compromised that is what he said.”

Senator Marafa who was visibly angered stood up and expressed dissatisfaction on the allegation raised by Senator Ndume.

He blasted his colleague indicating that whoever is nominated in the ad hoc committee is seeking campaign money and “I don’t think that’s the best way to get it”.

Marafa said: “For somebody to come out and say with due respect, that I managing subsidy programme, that is incorrect.

“Let all these committees including the ones held by some people before now be suggested to scrutiny, I have no problem with that but for this Senate to now leave another ad hoc committee to look into the issue of subsidy”.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki then cautioned the Zamfara Central Senator and told him to withdraw his statement.

Senator Ndume then apologised to his colleague indicating that he was only reporting what Senator Bukar Abba raised.

After the apology, the Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan declined to head the ad hoc committee in order not to damage has integrity.

“I am using my privilege to decline to serve on that committee. I hold my integrity very dearly. I have worked for it over the years. I don’t want it damaged. Thank you for the confidence but I am not going to serve in this committee”.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu replied Lawan that the chamber had not ruled on the chairman ship of the adhoc committee.

Ekweremadu said, “I think he was so angry to listen to what happened. They ruled on adhoc committee but we didn’t say he is going to be the chairman.

“His withdrawal from the job he has not been offered. Leader needs to calm down as we set up the ad hoc committee”.

Saraki then appealed to Senator Lawan to head the committee because he wants the chamber to be guided with facts and not speculation.

“You cannot excuse yourself form the rule of leadership. Why I directed or decided you should be there is because the matter is a matter that is very weighty and it is better to do that under the leader of the senate. I don’t want something partisan”.

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