A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria have asked the Federal Government to sanction three senior officers of the National Assembly for allegedly falsifying their official records.
The groups are calling for necessary disciplinary actions against the affected officers as contained in the Conditions of Service in the National Assembly Service (July 2020 edition).
The CSOs named the affected officers to include Secretary, Planning and Legislative Budget, Okpara Nnaechi; Clerk to the Senate, Dauda El-Ladan; and Secretary, Special Duties, Adebanjo Ademola.
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Justice and Equity (CCSO-JE), which made the allegations at a forum in the federal capital, Abuja, said it had been following the case for two months.
The Convener of CCSO-JE, Olayemi Success, said they were raising the alarm following petitions by some NGOs against the political leadership of the National Assembly, Chairman and the Commissioners at the National Assembly Service Commission, as well as the Clerk to the National Assembly.
He accused the National Assembly leadership of shielding the affected officers from prosecution.
In his words: “In an earlier petition dated November 16, 2021 by Masalaha Law and Associates, the leadership of the legislative arm of government were accused of failing to apply the right procedure in suspending the alleged officers as soon as they were charged before the Federal High Court, Abuja on October 21, 2021.
“We considered this as a flagrant abuse of office by the National Assembly Service Commission for condoning naked and gross misconduct by their ‘favourite’ officers. This is nothing but tantamount to aiding and abetting in the act of corruption; criminal forgery; and falsification of official records in the National Assembly of the Federation.
“We argued that if the National Assembly could fold its arms and fail to send the accused individuals who falsified and forged official records to where they belong, it is a dent to the anti-corruption toga of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“A further report was written by the National Assembly as requested by the Nigeria Police dated November 22, 2020, issuing a Certified True Copy. Having received the CTC as mentioned above, the State Intelligence Bureau of the Nigeria Police wrote another letter requesting the release of the above-named persons (staff members), dated November 27, 2020. The CTC was acknowledged and received by the office of the Clerk of National Assembly.
“However, to the surprise and consternation of the entire staff members of the National Assembly and the world at large, nothing was ever heard of this matter again, a situation which has emboldened the above-named persons (staff) and which may unquestionably set a bad precedence for all and sundry.”
Meanwhile, the Director of Information, National Assembly, Rawlings Agada, said he is not aware of the matter. “I don’t have any specific information that can elicit a reaction from me on the matter. However, if such a case exists, the National Assembly management has internal mechanism to deal with such matters,” he said.