Vanguard (Lagos)

22 September 2007

Nigeria: Fracas in House Shameful - Lagos AC

Lagos — The Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress has condemned the Thursday fracas in the House of Representatives over the on-going probe of the alleged financial misdeeds on the Speaker of the house, Mrs. Patricia Etteh, describing the development as national disgrace and a show of shame.

They also called on all civil society groups to urge Etteh on the need to resign from her "desecrated" seat and be tried for corrupt practices, as nothing more would assuage the feelings of all Nigerians who feel scandalized by the fraud in the House of Representatives.

In a statement by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, the party stated that it was not surprised that such ugly incidents were being perpetrated by those that want to sweep the monumental fraud in the house under the carpet so as to continue the looting of Nigeria's wealth while the citizenry die in preventable hunger and want.

According to the party, "it is unseemly that some members planned to sabotage the hearing of the house panel so as to cover an obvious national scandal that should have landed the perpetrators in jail.

"We have watched the recordings of the fight and have no doubt that it was a premeditated act that was meant to ensure that Nigerians are not availed of the wonder of how a hefty N628million of their sweat was appropriated for the renovation of a house for just one woman in a country where destitution has reached hovers on a crisis level.

"We believe that any day Mrs. Etteh presides over the affairs of the house diminishes that house before Nigerians and the entire world that are watching the unfolding parody being enacted to divert a clear case of fraud. We are yet to see why Etteh should continue presiding over a house whose moral value she has greatly diminished by her untoward acts when we had a precedent set by the last senate where its president the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, was asked to step aside to allow a probe of his awarding a N57 million street light project.

porters since the house scandal blew open. We see nothing new from Etteh's defence apart from compiling the same tissues of concoctions that have been overstretched by her supporters but the unanswered questions remain; how much would it take Etteh and company to build a brand new house when they would renovate an existing house with N628 million? How much does to take her to renovate her own personal house? Which companies bided for the project before it was awarded? Where was the bidding advertised? All these unanswered questions show that Mrs. Etteh has no moral competence to preside over the house's business and should resign now and allow the house to cleanse its defiled chambers.

"While we urge the House of Representatives to remove Mrs. Etteh, we want to remind the civil society groups, labour, student groups, market women and the press to see the need to rise to the need to consolidate democracy otherwise anti_democratic, fraudulent and incorrigibly corrupt characters stand to continue instilling pains on all of us in the name of governance.

"The actions of Etteh and her cohorts are antithetical to the well being of Nigerians and Nigerians must demonstrate their disapproval to such dirty acts that has arrested the progress of the country.

"We want all Nigerians to insist on what is right and what is right is that Mrs. Etteh cannot be sitting pretty while she is being probed. This is a weighty issue that should not be left to the wheeler_dealers in the house of representative who do not feel offended by Mrs. Etteh's continued presiding over the business of the house", the AC contended.

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