By Umar Muhammad Puma and Christiana Ekpan
The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the legality of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) on Thursday threatened to get members of the panel arrested if they fail to appear before the committee on May 8, 2018.
The Chairman of the panel has for a second time failed to appear before members of the ad hoc committee.
Chairman of SPIP, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla and the Secretary, Mr Akinbola Adeniran had yet to honour the committee’s invitation since it began a public hearing on April 19 to probe the legality and modus operandi of the panel.
Similarly, other members of the panel, Alhaji Salihu Abubakar, Mr Obinna Ogwuegbu and Monday Agbonika were absent in all the sessions.
In his ruling, the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Ahman Pategi, described as an affront the failure of members of SPIP to honour repeated invitations by the committee.
Earlier, a member of the Committee, Rep. Toby Okechukwu, while moving a motion to summon SPIP members, said that it was the constitutional role of the legislature to oversight the executive.
Okechukwu, however commended the offices of the Auditor-General of the Federation and Secretary to the Government of the Federation for honouring the invitation.
`Following this continuous refusal to appear before this committee, I move that you evoke the relevant sections of section 89 of the 1999 constitution and summon the chairman of the panel and its members.
“They are to appear here on May 8, 2018 unfailingly, without which we shall exercise our responsibility to issue a warrant of arrest for them to appear,’’ Okechukwu said.
Earlier, the Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr Anthony Ayine revealed that there was no audit report of financial activities of the panel since its inception in 2017.
On his part, Mr Emmanuel Akisa, the Legal Adviser to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said that the panel was set up as a special one to cure some existing defects.
“This includes where a public officer and private citizen is engaged in corrupt practices or unjustly enriched himself.
“This is with the sole aim of recovering stolen public property,” Akisa said.