The Yoruba Progressive Youth Congress (YPYC) has cautioned the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara against any veiled disrespect’ of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
National president of YPYC, Kola Salawu, said in a press conference in Lagos that the recent probe of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) by a House of Representatives’ adhoc committee set up by Speaker Dogara was a case of a parliament trying to overstep its bounds.
The group said the report of the Isa Ali-led Committee on Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness, released last week, by the House which indicted the Vice President, and calling security agencies to further investigate him (Osinbajo) is unacceptable.
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The committee’s report, according to the YPYC, struggled frantically to implicate Prof. Osinbajo, who is the statutory chairman of NEMA’s Governing Board, over some perceived fraud in the management of the agency’s finances and “baselessly faulted financial approvals by the Board to the agency, which Prof. Osinbajo is the head and proceeded to directly indict the Vice President on what it said were unlawful approvals for projects that were not executed.
Salawu said, “The probe panel by this submission directly indicted Osinbajo, with the unsubstantiated allegation of illegally approving N5.8 billion North East Intervention Fund.
“Sadly too, it claimed the fund was subsequently mismanaged by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). We do not think Speaker Dogara and his cohorts in the parliament embarked on a voyage of fantasy.”
Salawu said while his group supports good governance, transparency and accountability in public office, it could not tolerate the ‘persecution’ of a renowned leader based on ethnic sentiments in the bid to blot the years of hard earned reputation and integrity in the guise of a probe.
“We hasten to say confidently that the report never proved NEMA’s Governing Board, chaired by Prof. Osinbajo had no powers under the law establishing it, to approve emergency expenditures for the agency to the amount queried by the House. It has not disclosed how due process was allegedly abused or violated,” Salawu said.
The YPYC insisted that the report is tainted by procedural breaches, bias and lack of depth to arrive at its conclusions.
“We are not told whether the amount approved by the NEMA Governing Board exceeded their permissible limits under the law, which established it. The report only sent a bland cheque to the public and raised an alarm so loudly to tarnish his name .
“And quite damply, the report only intimated of an alleged mismanagement of the funds. So, is the Vice President or members of the NEMA Governing Council in that capacity responsible for the administration of funds they approve?,” the group asked.
YPYC said that when the report alleged there were monies missing, the committee wanted a conviction of Prof. Osinbajo in public domain.
It said when the committee attempted, to summon the Vice President to explain the decision of the Governing Board in suspending the six serving directors implicated in the alleged N2.5 billion fraud, as requested by EFCC to enable thorough investigation, it ‘became obvious there was something fishy.’
“What propelled our initial skepticism of the job of the committee’s assignment was its usurpation of the duties of statutory investigation bodies.
“But after the conclusion of its investigations, it still referred the cases to either EFCC or the ICPC to investigate.
“What then have they investigated? It does not make sense to us,” Salawu said.