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Name ‘notorious bribe seekers’, Senate challenges Jega

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The observed a minute silence in respect for late lawmakers on Tuesday

The Senate has dared a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, to mention the names of Committee Chairmen whom he accused of seeking bribe at the National Assembly.

The call followed a point of order raised by lawmaker representing Bauchi Central District,  Isa Misau, who stood up to express disappointment at the comments of the former INEC boss.

Jega on Monday accused federal lawmakers of seeking bribes to carry out their constitutional duties.

He said Chairmen of Committees in the National Assembly were more notorious for bribe taking antics.

He made the accusation while delivering the year’s Democracy Day lecture at a gathering in Abuja.

Jega said he had “spoken to quite a number of chief executives who complained of high demand for bribes from members of the National Assembly in the name of so-called oversight functions.

“Some Chairmen of Committees at the National Assembly are notorious for seeking for bribes,” he said.

The position of the former INEC Chairman confirms a story earlier published by PREMIUM

Coming under order 43, Misau described Jega’s comments as unfortunate. He said the statement is very weighty because “the programme 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 and I after the lecture, I went to the parliament. Most of the parliamentarians, this was the question they were asking me, that what the Professor said, is it true or not?

He further dared the former INEC boss to name the committee chairmen who sought bribes.

“I feel that not only Jega but anybody that would make statements concerning the credibility of this Senate and the Chairmen, I think you 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 made,” he said.

Reacting to this, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said he was “highly embarrassed” by Jega’s statement as he too was at the programme.

He said everyone is committed to fighting corruption and Jega’s comment does not help the fight against corruption.

“Going forward to all distinguished and respected Nigerians, in issues that have to do with the institutions and a parliament, if there are cases like this, we have always said that we are not going to cover up for anybody and future accusations, they should name them and see what the institution would do in trying to ensure that the necessary sanctions are taken,” Saraki said.