Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has given a 72-hour ultimatum to the spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere, to appear before its ad-hoc investigating allegation that the House was alleged induced with $10 million to pass the Infectious Bill.
The chairman of the investigative panel, Henry Nwawuba, issued the ultimatum, on Monday, at the inaugural sitting of the panel in Abuja.
The ad-hoc committee is probing allegations that the House was induced to pass the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill sponsored by the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila and two others.
Nwawuba, while speaking at the investigative hearing, stated that though the ad-hoc committee had extended an invitation to the CUPP spokesman to appear before it yesterday, rather than attend the investigative hearing, Ugochinyere through his counsel, Toochukwu Ohazulike, brought a letter seeking to stall the exercise.
The lawmaker noted that if the CUPP spokesman fails to appear before the panel on Thursday, it will go ahead and submit its report to the House, as its assignment was time bound.
According to him, “It is critical, we listen to the CUPP. We will by this announcement be extending another invitation to them…I will like to state on fact that the CUPP or their representatives, Barrister Ikenga, was invited; he failed to appear. We are giving them one more chance to reach this committee; failure to do that, we will conclude investigation and submit our report to parliament.
However, Ikenga speaking through his counsel, told journalists that he is not likely to appear before the House investigative panel, stating that he has filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the competence of the ad-hoc to sit over the investigation of the bribery allegation.
“We approached the Federal High Court, filed a suit to challenge that breach of the rule of natural justice that a man should not be a judge in his own case. That case is before the Federal High Court. The Clerk of the National Assembly has been served. The clerk of the House of Representatives, particularly, has been served. Attempts have been made to serve the chairman of the panel, he refused to acknowledge service.
“The constitution said Ikenga should not come here. If the constitution says Ikenga should not come here and a man says Ikenga must come ; Ikenga will obey the constitution,” he stated.