More than five weeks ago, the Nigerian senate jumped on the trending story when the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, made allegations against the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, in a leaked memo. It constituted a committee to investigate the alleged abuse of due process in the award of contracts worth about $25 billion.
Although the report of the ad-hoc committee headed by Sen. Aliyu Wamakko, was supposed to be submitted in four weeks, work has not even begun in earnest. The committee has only met once.
The four-week deadline given to the ad hoc committee by Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, when it was constituted expired over a week ago without a word from either the committee, or the Senate leadership.
Chairman of the committee who is a former Sokoto State governor, Aliu Wamakko, has refused to speak on the investigation.
One member of the committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, (APC, Zamfara Central,) had claimed that the delay was because the three chairmen of Senate Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream, Downstream and Gas) were all away with Saraki to attend a function in Russia.
The problem with his excuse is that the senate president returned to the country three weeks ago and in all that time the committee has made no progress.
His other excuse was that “we had to wait for communication on the directive by the Senate to the committee. When the Senate sets up an ad hoc committee, there are some procedures the mandate has to pass through, including the appointment of a clerk, and provision of a secretariat. An ad hoc committee is different from a standing committee – a standing committee has everything in place, but an ad hoc committee does not.”
That sounds like another unacceptable excuse which – if true – signifies a lack of seriousness by the Senate for the work.
There are reports however that the senate has been put under pressure by the presidency to shun the investigation.