By Tordue Salem
The Chairman of Projects Development Institute, PRODA, Comrade Daniel Onjeh, has called on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila to resign and also cause the disbandment of a House panel looking into allegations that he(Onjeh), is holding on to offices under false pretenses.
Mr Onjeh at a press conference in Abuja Sunday claimed that the Speaker wrongfully demanded his approval of PRODA projects, that were yet to meet due process requirements.
He also called for the immediate dissolution of a House committee set up to look into alleged fraudulent acts at the institute.
“Mr Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Gbajabiamila had also directed, even though verbally and via telephone, that PRODA management should go and pay for nebulous contracts. Hence, Mr Speaker has no moral justification to preside over the Motion, because like I have earlier said, it is laced with vested interests and not in the interest of the generality of Nigerians.
“As a bonafide citizen of Nigeria, having full knowledge citizen of Nigeria, having full knowledge of these circumstances, I am emotionally and psychologically disoriented. Consequently, I am calling for the immediate resignation of the Speaker.
“He should honourably resign his exalted position, as he lacks the moral rectitude to continue to preside over the House”, he stated.
Mr. Onje also called on the House, to disband the Committee looking into allegations of fraud at PRODA.
“Furthermore, the Rt. Hon. Henry Nwawuba who moved the Motion, aside from being biased, should apologize to Nigerians for attempting to deceive them, and should also be reprimanded to refrain from further attempts at misleading Nigerians and the Hallowed Green Chamber of the National Assembly.
“Also, the House Committee on Public Procurement investigating the PRODA 2020 Procurement Exercise, must be disbanded immediately, as it is evidently programmed for an expected end, hence lacks legitimacy”.
The committee had opened an enquiry on Thursday, into allegations of contract deception and management crisis at the institute.
The Chairman dismissed allegations of wrongdoing at the agency, as he stressed that he was rather the one who initiated a probe at the agency against a former Acting Director-General of PRODA for corruption.
“It is instructive for me to add that I led the Board that recommended the suspension of the former DG of PRODA on corruption-related issues, amongst others. To the best of my knowledge, there is no shred of allegation against me anywhere. However, since I was the one who spearheaded the preliminary investigation of the suspended DG of PRODA, my being asked to step aside as Board Chairman, is normal administrative procedure authorities take sometimes so that the investigation of the accused can go on unfettered.
“Therefore, I’m calling on Nigerians not to be hoodwinked by the falsehood being propagated by some members of the House of Reps, with a bid to divert public attention from the real issues bedevilling PRODA”, he stated.
He also made available copies of letters showing that the Committee addressed him as Chairman of the Board, contrary to an earlier claim that he was no longer in that capacity.
Recall that the House Committee on Public Procurement, led by Rep. Ali Ahmed(Kano-APC), had on Thursday last week, resolved that the Ministry of Science and Technology, should issue a public notice disclaiming Mr Onje, as Chairman of the Board of PRODA.
The Committee claimed that not only did Onje get involved in contracts deception, he had also used the agency’s letterhead at a time, they claimed he was no longer the Chairman of its board.