By Stanley Onyekwere with agency report
A judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has denied issuing any order barring the House of Representatives from probing the Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the ministry over the controversial expenditure of about N10 billion on private jet for the minister.
The House had commenced the probe following a motion on March 20 presented by a lawmaker, Samuel Adejare, accusing the minister of committing about 500,000 Euros (N130 million) monthly to maintain an aircraft for her personal needs and those of her immediate family.
Not wanting to appear before the lawmakers to explain the controversial expenditure, Mrs. Alison-Madueke approached the court seeking for “an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents whether by themselves, their members, committee, or agents from summoning or directing” her appearance.
The judge was reported to have on April 14 granted an order, one that was made public on Monday.
According to a Premium Times report, an infuriated Justice Ahmed Mohammed, however, told journalists and all those present in court on Tuesday that he never granted the specific order sought by the minister.
“As far as I am concerned, and as the judge presiding over this case, no such order was made,” the Punch newspaper quoted the judge as saying.
A journalist present in court described Mr. Mohammed’s reaction as ‘very angry’.
The journalist told PREMIUM TIMES that the judge first called the court reporters and asked them why they misinterpreted the order.
The judge was then told by the journalists that it was the House of Representatives leadership that address journalists to say it was in possession of the order barring the probe.
While addressing journalists on Monday, the House spokesperson, Zakary Mohammed, had said the house had received the court order and would stay action on inviting the minister.
“As a law abiding arm of government, we will tarry a while and of course take a legal opinion as far as issues are concerned,” Mr. Mohammed said.