The Presidency and the National Assembly appear poised for a showdown as the Senate has vowed to use constitutional power to force the National Security Adviser, (NSA), Major Gen. Babagana Munguno and the Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Muhammad Buba Marwa to appear before its Committee on Public Accounts for probe over alleged N3.96bn fraud.
The looming showdown follows the continued refusal of the NSA and the NDLEA Chiefs to appear before the Senate for explanations on the alleged fraud totalling N3, 967, 000, 000.
Açcording to the chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South), the ONSA was expected to address the issue of illegal diversion of N3.5 billion meant for the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, to acquire vehicles for military officers while the NDLEA, which had 11 queries, is enmeshed with a total of N467million alleged fraud.
Irked by the refusal of both Mongunu and Marwa to appear before the committee, Senator Urhoghide vowed that the National Assembly will use every constitutional means to force both the NSA and the NDLEA Chief Executive to appear before it to make clarifications on the issues raised in the Auditor General’s Report.
He said: “We wrote to NDLEA in 2018 to appear before us, they did not respond, but acknowledged the letter and another letter was written on February 1, 2021 three years after, they only sent written response, they are supposed to appear physically, they acknowledged the letter and sent response on March 21.
“We wrote a letter, they didn’t do physical appearance, we wrote another letter to them on June 9 and scheduled the agency to appear before us 30th of June, NDLEA refused to appear, they only acknowledged the letter.
“On 30th of August, we wrote another letter to the NDLEA for them to appear on September 29th and they also refused to appear physically.
“We don’t have a reference for personality, nobody is bigger than us, we advise them in their best interest to appear, we are warning them for the last time, we are going to use every constitutional means to force them to appear before us.”
On the NSA, the chairman said, “the committee is investigating the Office of the National Security Adviser over the diversion of N3.5 billion meant for National National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, to acquire vehicles for military officers.”
“NSA should come and clarify, we do not have other issues directly with him, we implore him to send any person of competence or appear in person,” Senator Urhoghide said.
The NDLEA had in response to the query by the Auditor General of the Federation, said it was not aware of any invitation from the Senate.
“I have checked through all the relevant channels within the agency and nobody is aware or has received any such invitation from the Senate committee.
“I’m, however, aware that the issues raised had been adequately addressed by the previous leadership of the agency long before the incumbent Chairman/Chief Executive came into office,” the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, said.