As had been widely speculated, the Nigerian House of Representatives at its special session today suspended embattled chairman of its Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan, who has been enmeshed in an alleged $500,000 bribe-for-clearance saga.
The House also referred Lawan to its Ethics and Privileges Committee for further investigation of the bribe money which billionaire oil magnate, Femi Otedola allegedly gave him to clear two of his companies that were investigated by the House on the allegation that they obtained huge foreign exchange to import fuel but never utilized such funds on fuel importation.
The House further directed the management of the National Assembly Service Commission to commence disciplinary action against the secretary of the Adhoc Committee, Boniface Emenalo who allegedly collected a sum of $120,000 from Otedola purported on the instruction of Lawan.
In an overwhelming voice vote, the members passed a vote of confidence in Speaker Aminu Tambuwal who later addressed the members admonishing them to stay focused on their constitutional responsibilities of law-making and oversight functions over the other arms of government.
Tambuwal said the House under him shall not compromise on the issue of corruption neither shall it be intimidated or cowed down by any person or authority. He urged members to brace up for the challenges ahead and to always stand on the side of the Nigerian people who elected them into office.
“May God give us the courage, the courage, the courage to take the right decisions at the right time in all circumstances,” he said defiantly and with his voice betraying some emotions.
The House later went into an “executive session” in which it reversed its earlier decision on 24 April, 2012 when, on the motion of Farouk Lawan, the two companies owned by Femi Otedola had been removed from the list of 15 companies recommended for investigation by the appropriate authorities on whether they utilized the huge foreign exchanged obtained by them from the Central Bank of Nigeria to import fuel.
By this decision, the names of Synopsis Enterprises Limited and Zeno Petroleum and Gas Limited which obtained foreign exchange of $51.45 million and $232.9 million respectively have been reinstated on the list and will now be investigated by anti-corruption agencies along with the 13 others earlier approved by the House.