President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, says the allegation of corruption levelled against federal lawmakers by the former chairman of the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, was an embarrassment to the National Assembly.
Professor Jega, while delivering a Democracy Day lecture in Abuja on Tuesday, May 29, had alleged that members of the National Assembly were notorious for seeking bribes to carry out their constitutional duties.
Responding to a point of order 43 (Personal Explanation) raised by Senator Isah Misau on the allegation, Senator Saraki said he was at the programme with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara when Jega made the blanket embarrassing statement.
According to the senate president: I was at the programme, myself and the Speaker and we were highly embarrassed by this kind of comment. All of us are committed to the fight against corruption. But I believe it (such statement) doesn't help the fight against corruption, it is a slight to the integrity of some of us, where such a statement is made.
Senator Saraki, however, challenged Jega to expose those lawmakers he knows were involved in corrupt practices with evidence.
If he (Jega) has those kinds of evidences, he should bring them forward, because to say that, is to suggest that every member of the national assembly is part of this even those who are not part of this are condoling this action which is far from the truth.
I think what the Professor, who is respected should do, is to come out and mention those members he is aware of. If he can't come out and name them, he should not make such branding statements, he said.
The Senate President assured Nigerians that the National Assembly under his leadership would not be involved in corruption or attempt to cover any member who compromised his position.
Earlier, Senator Misau said he brought the statement made by Jega that some committee chairmen of the National Assembly are notorious for demanding or collecting bribes to the floor of the chamber, describing it as unfortunate.
I feel that the statement is very weighty because that programme (Democracy Day lecture) was televised live. The thing they need to understand is that these live programmes are watched around the world. And at the time he made that statement, I am a member of ECOWAS Parliament.
After the lecture, I went to the parliament and the question most of the parliamentarians were asking me is that whether what the Professor said, is true or not
I find it difficult to explain to them and I feel that not only Professor Jega but anybody that would make statements concerning the credibility of this senate and its (committees) chairmen should be bold enough to mention the committee chairmen especially when it is about fighting corruption in Nigeria.
If we really want to fight corruption and want to help the government, he would not be making such statements without mentioning the committee chairmen and those who gave him that sort of information. I felt embarrassed. We need the Professor to throw more light on what he said, the lawmaker stressed.
Source: Voice of Nigeria