BY OKEY NDIRIBE & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA — The embattled former Chairman of House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy, Mr Farouk Lawan, who is facing Police investigations for alleged $620,000 bribe said, yesterday, that his present travails were endorsed by God and that at the end of the investigation he would be vindicated.
Lawan was accused by the chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd, Mr Femi Otedola, of collecting $620,000 of the $3 million he demanded to have his firm exonerated from the subsidy sleaze. Police has so far recovered $10,000 of the bribe money while he is expected to produce the remaining $610,000 before the end of the week.
Appearing at the chamber for the first time since his bribery allegation began two weeks ago, Lawan declared that God decided to allow him go through the current trial for some reasons. He did not state the reasons.
The lawmaker who was looking visibly embattled told newsmen at the end of the plenary session that he had no qualms with the decision of the House to shove him aside as the Chairman of Education committee and that of the ad hoc committee. According to him, the decision was taken to preserve the image and integrity of the House which he said is bigger than that of members.
He said: “I think it is important to note that I have been a member of the House of Representatives for the past 13 years, of course together with several other colleagues of mine, past and present, and we have done so much to build the House of Representatives. It means that I should enjoy the respect and confidence of Nigerians.
“Whatever decision is taken by the House, I believe is meant to ensure the credibility of the institution because as members, we must at all times recognize that the institution is bigger than each and everyone of us. It is an institution that belongs to this country, that Nigerians look up to for legislation, oversight responsibilities and for responsive representation.”
“It is an institution that must continue to give hope and confidence to the Nigerian people. So, whenever any issue arises to question any particular member’s standing, it is important to recognize that the institution itself is bigger than anyone of us.
“So, the decision of the House of Representatives is a collective decision of the institution and I have absolutely no problem with that decision. As far as the issue as it relates to me is concerned, I believe ultimately, I will be vindicated.
“I just urge Nigerians to continue to be patient, I have not spoken on the issue for strategic reasons, but I believe in the end Nigerians will come to believe and see that the 13 years that I have invested in championing good governance, responsibility and probity in this country and that this last trial is a trial from God and I believe in the end we shall prevail.”
Otedola is also guilty—Reps
Meanwhile, the House has said that Otedola is as guilty as Lawan in the bribery scandal.
Reacting to a statement credited to Otedola that last week’s’ emergency session by the House where it asked anti graft agencies to investigate his firm’s’forex transaction was a celebration of corruption, spokesman of the House, Zakari Mohammed, argued that such comment from businessman was unfortunate and irresponsible.