By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee Chairman, Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma, probing the N9trn pension regulatory body, Pencom activities since 2017, yesterday resigned citing unnecessary pressures and an attempt to bribe him to scuttle the investigative hearing.
Agbonnayinma also indicted a fellow lawmaker who allegedly collaborated with the regulatory body to offer him bribe to ‘kill’ the probe.
The Edo lawmaker who disclosed this at the ongoing investigative hearing dropped a bomb shell when he said: “Hon Oluwole Oke a member of this parliament and a ranking member threw decorum to the wind when he took it upon himself and through his deliberate actions to derail the activities of the committee, his conduct is morally and parliamentarilly unacceptable.
“From inception of the investigation his actions and conduct on the investigation was infamous and uncomplimentary befitting a lawmaker which is to walk in the path of Justice.
“He made overtures towards the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee by bringing the AG DG Pencom, Aisha Dalatu Umar to the Chairman’s office requesting for what it will take for the Chairman to soft pedal on the probe.
“From our findings the body language of the Honourable Member is that of a commissioned agent and with a directive to stifle the investigations and subvert the report of the Ad-hoc Committee. It is very sad that a ranking parliamentarian is involved in these unwholesome acts.
“Aware that the Committee wrote series of letters to PenCOM from December, 2018 and has so far written ten (10) letters to PenCOM requesting information’s and submission of Memorandum to the committee.
Agbonayunma also noted that “letters were also communicated to Pension Funds Administrators (PFA’s), Pension Fund Custodians (PFC’s), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Office of the Secretary of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) NLC, TUC and various Stakeholders and Government Parastatals. It may surprise you to note that our first Public Hearing was held on the 7th of February, 2019.
“Please note that I have been trending on the social media, print and electronic media on the sack of Deborah Agbonayinma by the management of PenCOM over presentation of fake credentials.
“As a lawmaker of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a parent, I will never condone illegality and at all times stand on the path of Justice.
“I have been smeared by the conduct of a child who is an adult, married and over 30 years of age, who is responsible for her actions and inactions.
“I will always walk on the path of justice and the oaths I took as prescribed by the seventh schedule to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to function honestly in the discharge of my duties.
“The management of PenCOM is on a path of war because of the ongoing investigations by the Ad-hoc Committee, using public funds to blackmail and threaten the committee through some members by saying I am hard on the commission because of the sack of my daughter.
“ It is germane to note that the commission sacked her on the 27th February, 2019 and the Ad-hoc committee started its investigations on December 12th, 2018. It is scandalous to link PenCOM probe to my daughter’s sack.
“The truth about the PenCOM funds must”come out. They are trying to deviate from the real issues. The Committee is about to round up the investigation and present its report before the House. We are resolute to do a thorough investigation without fear or favour.
“There have been a systematic and orchestrated attempt to frustrate the patriotic and determined effort of this Ad-hoc Committee.
The lawmaker pointed out that “this fight is not against EJ or my daughter, this is a fight against the cohesive sanctity of this House.
“At this point I will step aside for the investigation to continue because pensioners must get their pensions at the appropriate time.”
When contacted, Rep Wole Oke who allegedly accompanied the acting DG to chairman’s office denied ever having any link with Pencom.