The Senate has reacted to an allegation made by the former Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, stating that members of the National Assembly are ‘notorious’ for bribe-seeking.
The Senate has asked the former INEC boss to name national assembly members demanding bribes.
On Tuesday, Jega said the nation’s lawmakers are notorious for demanding bribes with “impunity”. He made the remark at a lecture to mark Democracy Day in Abuja.
Drawing the attention of the lawmakers to the statement credited to Jega, Isah Misau, the senator representing Bauchi central, said his privilege has been breached by the allegation.
Senator Isah Misau said it would be in order to name the lawmakers who are involved as it would help the government’s anti-corruption war.
“I find it difficult to explain to them and I feel that not only Professor Jega but anybody that would make statements concerning the credibility of this Senate and the chairmen,” the senator said.
“I think you should be bold enough to mention the committee chairmen especially when it is about fighting corruption in Nigeria.
“If we really want to fight corruption and want to help the government, he would not be making such statements without mentioning the committee chairmen and those who gave him that sort of information. I felt embarrassed. We need the Professor to throw more light on what he made.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki, however, said he was embarrassed by Jega’s comment.
“All of us are committed to the fight against corruption. But I believe it doesn’t help the fight against corruption, it is a slight to the integrity of some of us, where such a statement is made. If he has those kinds of evidence, he should bring it forward,” Saraki said.
“Because to say that is to suggest that every member of the national assembly is part of this. I think the professor should come out and mention these kinds of members he is aware of.
“If he can’t come out and name them, then he should not make such branding statements.”
But the former INEC boss, while delivering this year’s Democracy Day lecture at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Monday, said quite a number of chief executives complained of high demand for bribes from members of the National Assembly in the name of ‘oversight functions’.
The professor of Political Science furthering his points noted that “some chairmen of committees at the National Assembly are notorious for seeking for bribes.”