The Senate on Wednesday challenged Prof. Attahiru Jega, former chairman of INEC, to prove bribery allegation he levelled against members of the National Assembly.
The decision followed a Point of Order moved by Sen. Isah Misau (APC-Bauchi), drawing the attention of the senate to the comment attributed to the former INEC boss.
While relying on order 43, Misau said: “I want to recall that on Democracy Day, Prof. Attahiru Jega accused all lawmakers and particularly the National Assembly committee chairmen of asking for and taking bribe while carrying out their oversight functions.
“I take exception to it and would want the Professor to mention those he knew were involved. It is by so doing that we can be upright in the fight against corruption in this country.”
Misau also said that his privileges were breached with the alleged comment, adding that he was embarrassed by the unsubstantiated allegation by Jega.
“My point of order is based on the lecture made during democracy day. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was in attendance.
“During the lecture, the guest lecturer who is an elder statesman and the former Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
“He made a statement which I feel I have to bring on this floor.
“He made mention that some committee chairmen of the National Assembly are notorious in demanding or collecting bribes, which I feel is very weighty because that programme was televised live.
“The thing they need to understand is that these live programmes are watched around the world.
I am a member of ECOWAS parliament and I after the lecture, I went to the parliament, most of the parliamentarians were asking me, if what Prof. Jega said was true.
“I found it difficult to explain to them and I feel that not only Prof. Jega but anybody that would make statements concerning the credibility of this senate and the chairmen, 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 said.
In his remark, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said it was important for Jega to substantiate his allegation.
He urged eminent stakeholders in the country to be weary of their comments to avoid putting the country in a bad light before the world.
“I was at the programme with the Speaker and we were highly embarrassed by this kind of comment.
“All of us are committed to the fight against corruption and this type of statement does not help.
“It is a slight on the integrity of some of us. If he has those kinds of evidences, he should bring them forward.
“To say that, is to suggest that every member of the national assembly is part of this and those who are not part of it are condoling such action which is far from the truth.
“If he cannot come out and name them he should not make such statements.
“If there are cases like these, we have always said that we are not going to cover up for anybody.
“For future accusations, they should name them and see what the institution would do in trying to ensure that the necessary sanctions are taken’’, he said.(NAN)