The House of Representatives yesterday missed an opportunity to aid the anti-corruption drive of President Mohammadu Buhari. A motion to investigate misappropriation and non-remittance of funds  by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) was rejected.

The mover of the motion, Chike Okafor (APC, Imo) withdrew it after being told that the motion was defective and wrongly phrased.

Signs that the motion would not see the light of the day emerged shortly before the mover took the floor when the Chief Whip, Hassan Doguwa (APC, Kano) had to disperse a group of PDP lawmakers, led by the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, who were clustered in a corner discussing in low tones.

Doguwa said if the PDP caucus wants to hold a meeting, they should go to Wadata House and not on the floor when plenary was on.

The group dispersed immediately and plenary continued.

Okafor was seeking the approval of the House to mandate the Committees on Finance, Petroleum Resources (Downstream or Upstream) and Gas Resources, when constituted, to investigate the allegations and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative input.
In his argument, Okafor said Section 88 and part 1, second schedule of the 1999 Constitution vested on the National Assembly the powers to make laws for the order, peace and good governance in Nigeria.

This is in addition to the investigation of action of any person or authority charged with the duty of administering laws or disbursing money appropriated by the National Assembly.

He also noted that the sum of $4b was paid as taxes and dividends by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) between 2009 and 2014 while the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spent $3.8 trillion in three years.

The lawmaker also raised another allegation that about $2.1b was disbursed from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) without approval from the National Economic Council (NEC).

He expressed concerned over the far-reaching implication of these allegations and what the huge amounts of money could have achieved in diversifying the nation’s economic base if the sums had been judiciously spent on infrastructure development and educational advancement.

Hardly had Okafor began his presentation that Ogor (PDP, Delta) and Edward Pwajok (PDP, Plateau) stopped him with points of order.

Pwajok said the motion was defective and should not be allowed to sail through because while it sought investigation of all MDAs, the mover was neither specific nor direct in his allegations of corruption.

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