Following Wednesday’s release of the report of the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee on the scandals surrounding the management of oil subsidy, an impeachment threat now hovers around the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal.
Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, Alhaji Farouk Lawan, is also facing threats from unnamed forces on account of the panel’s recommendations.
In its report, the committee had indicted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), oil marketers and others for unbecoming acts and asked them to refund a total sum of N1.07 trillion.
The alleged plot, it was gathered yesterday, is already generating tension in the National Assembly.
As a first step, security may be strengthened around Farouk Lawan who, sources said, resisted the pressure mounted on him not to expose public officers and oil marketers involved in the fuel subsidy scam.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that some forces in government are uncomfortable with the findings and recommendations of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy.
A principal officer of the National Assembly said: “The House leadership ignored pressure to water down the panel’s report or treat it in confidence.
“The argument of these forces was that the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee would hurt the economy and make investors to lose confidence in Nigeria. But the House saw the Ad Hoc Committee’s activities as part of a new era to usher in transparency.
“Since the report was released to the public, we have got sufficient signals that some forces are unhappy with the House. Although we do not give a damn, we are watching our back.
“These forces have renewed their plot to move against the Speaker and deal with Lawan and members of his committee. They want to remove the Speaker for his refusal to check the Lawan panel. They have branded the Speaker as “disloyal” to the PDP and a stooge of those opposed to the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Although the Speaker has maintained that he is putting national interest above partisan consideration, the forces have vowed to unseat him.
“We are suspecting that some oil marketers are funding the anti-Tambuwal project. In fact, some of these forces are also planning to blackmail Lawan. The House leadership has, however, asked Lawan to lie low and avoid further comments on the report.
“We will throw the debate open as from Tuesday and Nigerians will know where their representatives stand on fuel subsidy management.
“One of the strategies of the forces is to frustrate the report of the committee by lobbying members to reject the recommendations.
“They are also trying to prevail on some House members to ensure that the debate on the report of the Ad Hoc Committee is suspended until the Senate completed its own probe into the fuel subsidy regime.”
A member of the committee also said: “We have been receiving knocks here and there over the report, but we are standing by our position. The rot in the oil industry cannot continue.”
When contacted, the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, confirmed the plot.
He said: “The attention of the House of Representatives has been drawn to calculated attempts by indicted firms and their backers in government to plot the removal and discrediting of the House leadership for allowing the subsidy report to get to the public without being doctored to spare them.
“The antics being employed range from fanthom charges to intimidation via security agencies. This type of plot will discourage parliamentarians from unraveling corruption and rot in the society.
“In spite of all this, I want to assure Nigerians that we will continue to promote transparency in governance and we will not cave in to any form of blackmail from anybody or institution, no matter how highly placed.
“In accordance with our legislative agenda, we will continue to partner with patriotic Nigerians to rid our system of rots in whatever form.”