The controversy surrounding the former speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives has taken another dramatic turn. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has invited the former speaker to answer questions over her alleged complicity in the five million dollar contract scandal. This comes after the house of representative’s Integrity Group petitioned the ICPC to investigate the alleged scam and bring those found responsible to book.
But supporters of former speaker Patricia Etteh say the accusation against her is a calculated attempt by her enemies to end her political career. Honorable Abdul Kadr is a member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives. From the capital, Abuja he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the former speaker is innocent until proven otherwise.
“Whatever happened, when it happened was something with Madam Etteh and the contractor. You see we are all Nigerians, we are supposed to be law abiding. Things happened and an investigation was conducted and the result of that investigation was out, and eventually the matter was discussed on the floor of the House and it was sent to the Committee of Ethics and Privileges. So, inviting her by the ICPC or EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) or whatever investigating outfit, I think its something that has to do with the law,” Kadr noted.
He said the ICPC is constitutionally mandated to investigate any individual, including members of the Federal House of Representatives.
“You cannot rule out what a body set up by law has right or does not have right to do. You have to look at the law establishing it, so if the law establishing the ICPC or EFCC does not cover a member of the House of Representatives, then ICPC or EFCC or whatever body would do its job,” he said.
Kadr said the former speaker is not guilty until she is proven to be guilty.
“This is the era of the rule of law, and you know everybody is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. I don’t think madam Etteh or any body that has been taken to the ICPC has anything to answer for. And by the way she has been invited, she will definitely give her own account of the whole thing. And I’m very sure the rule of law will prevail,” Kadr pointed out.
He said the Integrity Group of the House wanted to ascertain what really happened about the alleged scandal involving the former house speaker.
“Everybody wanted due process to be followed. There was an allegation and we wanted it investigated and the result of the investigation is something for posterity to judge. But I do not think the integrity means everybody that wanted an investigation to be conducted. Only wanted was for the thing to be done so that names of all the members not specifically madam Etteh to be cleared of the issue,” he said.