Amaechi: Bribe tears Senate panel on Rivers apart

Amaechi: Bribe tears Senate panel on Rivers apart

Rotimi Amaechi
Rotimi Amaechi

Nigerians are about to be treated to yet another theatrical bout of drama on corrupt practices among lawmakers as a group of senators have vowed to provoke investigation into allegation of bribery rocking the hallowed chamber.

Barely 24 hours after the Senate intervened in the Rivers State crisis, the committee set up by the senate to investigate the political crisis in the state legislature is entangled in a quandary following allegations that some members pocketed a $500,000 bribe. The manner the senate intervened and resolved the matter was said to have irked members of the group. The Senate was billed to continue its debate on the 1999 Constitution review but quickly switched to arrest the perceived drift to anarchy in Rivers State. The resolution passed by the senate which weighed in favour of Governor Amaechi was said to have angered the senators and they have vowed to cause an investigation into the allegation that some senators were compromised in the matter.

However, chairman of the panel, Senator Kabiru Gaya dismissed the allegation as “wicked, false, diversionary, and a calculated attempt to rubbish my committee.”

Gaya’s committee spent two days in Port Harcourt, the state capital, taking oral and written testimonies from key players in the crisis including Governor  Amaechi. The committee met with controversial Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu, State Director, State Security Services, Olusegun Agbaje, as well as commander, Joint Task Force (JTF) Maj. Gen. Bata Debiro, among other security officials.

The panel also met with Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, two former deputy speakers of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche and Austin Opara, former senator Lee Maeba, among other stakeholders from the state.

A former top official of the federal government from the state was said to have confronted a top member of the Gaya committee with shocking details of how the bribe money was delivered, including the exact time and location.

The former government official, we gathered, had warned the senator of the consequences of doctoring their report.

A senator from one of the camps was said to have acted as a go-between with members of the committee.

However, Gaya, who doubles as chairman, Senate committee on states and local governments, said that he couldn’t have been part of any plot to take bribe from either camp.

“Check my records. I was governor of Kano State twenty years ago. I know the importance of this assignment. Go and check, we had police and SSS presence round the clock, so how could any of us have taken money from any of the camps?” Gaya posed.