President Goodluck Jonathan has denied claims that the bribery scandal that has greeted the House of Representatives investigation into the management of the fuel subsidy is a plot by his office to unseat the leadership of the House.
The Presidency in a statement signed by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, reaffirmed its commitment to the subsidy probe, stating that the president “has absolutely no reason or desire to meddle in the affairs of the House of Representatives and its leadership.”
It described as ‘lame and diversionary’, attempts by some national dailies to drag the person and office of the President into the bribery scandal.
The statement from the presidency alleged that some edition of Thursday’s newspapers claimed the whole bribery scandal was a plot cooked by the presidency to unseat the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“The mischievous insinuation in today’s editions of newspapers that the entire affair, in which the two key players (Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola) have publicly confessed their roles, is part of a plot by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the executive arm of government to unseat the leadership of the House of Representatives, is totally false and baseless” the statement said.
The Chairman, House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan is alleged to have collected $620,000 as part payment for a $3million bribe, which he demanded from billionaire and oil magnate, Femi Otedola in a bid to exonerate his companies from the fuel subsidy probe.
“Neither the President nor anyone acting on his request or order has anything to do with the scandal that has sadly engulfed the House ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy. The attempt to drag the Presidency into the matter is entirely speculative and without factual foundation” said the statement.
The president also expressed his avowed commitment to the effective prosecution of the war against corruption in Nigeria, and urged the media to allow members of the House and law enforcement agencies to conduct and conclude investigations without further unhelpful distractions.
The House of Representatives has already recalled its members from recess for a special session to deliberate on it tomorrow.
The statement further confirmed that despite the bribery allegations and all that surrounds it, President Jonathan’s directive to the Attorney-General of the Federation on the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, as adopted by the House of Representatives, subsists.
Adding that the president expects all those indicted in the report, to be duly investigated and prosecuted, if a prima facie case is established against them.