The Nigeria House of Representatives Committee on Ethics are being urged to honour Femi Otedola’s call for a transparent investigation of the oil subsidy bribery scandal, maintaining that the oil mogul must have a right to fair hearing.
“If he does not feel comfortable with the current set-up of the House probing one of its own member in an obvious prosecutor, accused, judge and jury act setting, he must speak out to register his reservation”,a civil activist opined in London.
The refusal of Mr Femi Otedola to testify before the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges irked the committee members who have turned to the oil magnate lambasting his action when he appeared before it on Tuesday.
The committee members fumed that Otedola’s refusal to speak during his appearance was misguided and that he would not be allowed to dictate to the committee on how it performs its duties.
Chairman House of Representatives committee on Ethics, Gambo Dan Musa was particularly angry.
Gambo Dan Musa, described Mr Otedola’s decision not to speak before the committee as misguided, when he addressed a press conference after Otedola’s departure.
According to the chairman, Mr Otedola refused to say anything to the committee and he claimed the oil mogul was just laughing whilst their short conversation lasted.
“We did all that we could by explaining to him our power under the constitution and under our rules and…..further explained that nobody will dictate how we are going to conduct our meeting, yet Femi Otedola refused to answer questions and he said he could only do so when we do it in public” explained Mr Dan Musa.
“You cannot make an allegation and when you are being asked to substantiate, you now refuse to substantiate.” “What are you hiding” Honourable Dan Musa asked?
“He has told us that we are hiding something that is why we don’t want to do it in public, rather we told him, he is the one hiding something by refusing to talk, by refusing to make a substantiation of his allegations.”
Warning that nobody can dictate to the committee how it should conduct its investigation, the committee chairman added that “we told him the consequences of this but he was not ready to go by our words.”
Adding that he refused to answer all their questions, Mr Dan Musa stated that the oil mogul insulted members of the committee because he was just laughing.
“He refused to say anything and he was just laughing. It was very stupid of him and we are not happy too” he said angrily as other members of the committee on ethics, gave a Yes! chorus one after the other, in response to the name calling.
“We cannot have a committee of this nature, a standing committee, that is respected by the House and somebody comes and tell us that he is a businessman and he is not angry at ourselves” he said.
The chairman noted that the committee will continue to invite other relevant parties involved in the saga and pledged the committee’s commitment saying, “our commitment to do justice should not be in doubt.”
The Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas, Mr Femi Otedola on Tuesday, challenged the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges to conduct the hearing on the bribery allegation he levelled against Honorable Farouk Lawan in public, saying “nothing done in darkness…..anything done in darkness will always come out in lightness.”