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Published On: Wed, Dec 18th, 2019

Constituency projects: Prove allegation or face court action -Reps tells ICPC

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By Christiana Ekpa

The House of Representatives yesterday said that the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC), Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, has painted the National Assembly black before Nigerians.
The House equally accused the Chairman of trying to destroy the image of the Nigerian legislature before the international community and make the members to lose their hard earned reputation.
The members raised the alarm following a recent assertion by Ayoola that the lawmakers duplicate their constituency projects.
Hon. John Dygh representing Gboko/Turka federal constituency of Benue State in the House had raised a motion on the issue under matters of urgent public importance at plenary, calling on the attention of the House to the unhealthy remarks.
He quoted Ayoola as saying that “Constituency Projects Tracking Group tracked 424 projects from 2015-2018 constituency projects between June and August 2019 across 12 States of Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kano, Kogi, Lagos, Osun and Sokoto as well as the FCT accused lawmakers of duplicating of contracts using the same description, same narrative, same amount, same location and awarded by the same Agency”.
Dygh expressed concerned that the submission was capable of pitching the National Assembly members against their constituents and also “portray us as thieves”.
He said: “The House is properly informed that this is a deliberate attempt to rubbish and ridicule this institution and portray it as not having credible persons.
“The House is worried that this is capable of destroying the image of the Nigerian Legislature before the international community and making us lose respect which most of us earned even before coming to the National Assembly.
“Also aware that in most communities, the only federal government project or benefit they can point to is National Assembly members projects as we are down to the grassroots”.
Dygh revealed that no court in Nigeria has passed any judgement “on this legislature or its members as thieves”.
He added that “the ICPC chairman has no such right” to speak about the national Assembly members in the manner he did, saying that “if you say someone stole, you are saying he/she is a thief”.
Adopting the motion, the House asked the ICPC chairman to prove his case beyond all reasonable doubts or be taken to court by the House.
The House also mandated its relevant committees to investigate the matter and report back for further legislative action.

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