by Dare Lawal
Nigeria’s minister of petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, has for the second week running refused to appear before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts which is investigating the latest scandal surrounding her which concerns her alleged N10bn expenses from public purse in hiring a controversial Challenger 850 aircraft.
Since March 26 when the committee chairman, Solomon Olamilekan wrote to the minister requesting information on the source of funding and to cite the law that empowers a minister to fly in chartered jets, Allison-Madueke has not still responded. The one week given by the committee has since elapsed.
Perhaps taking a cue from her, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, has also refused to respond to the inquiries from the House.
The committee itself has just three weeks to submit its report according to the mandate it received from the House and the snub from the minister and the NNPC GMD is stalling its progress.
According to a member of the committee who spoke anonymously to a national newspaper, “These are not ordinary times. We are aware of steps being taken to prevent the committee from carrying out its assignment. Why the removal of the Director of the Legal Services of the NNPC at this point in time?
“The NNPC and the minister must come before the committee to explain their roles in the deal to all Nigerians. We, as lawmakers, will use all the constitutional powers we have to get to the root of the matter.”