By Kevwe Ebireri
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, has asked the House of Representatives to issue a warrant of arrest against the minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu.
This is sequel to their refusal to respond to letters issued by the House Committee on Public Accounts demanding information on the controversial Challenger 850 aircraft chartered for the minister’s use.
The committee was given the mandate to probe the alleged N10billion expenses the minister incurred in the last three years, flying a chartered Challenger 850 aircraft, following preliminary findings which revealed that Alison-Madueke had chartered other jets, including a Global Express XRS.
In separate letters written by the committee chairman, Solomon Olamilekan, dated March 26, 2014, to both Alison-Madueke and Yakubu, the committee sought to know the source(s) of funding for the charter and to cite the law that empowers a minister to fly in chartered jets.
The minister was given one week to respond to the questions.
CACOL said it is curious that the minister and the NNPC are yet to respond to the letters by providing the relevant information demanded, one week after the expiration of the ultimatum.
Reacting to the development, the executive chairman of the Coalition, Debo Adeniran, decried the minister’s display of impunity and disregard for constituted authority and alleged that the she may be acting on the orders of President Goodluck Jonathan, hence the audacity she displays.
“The Petroleum Minister’s refusal to respond or appear before the house committee is highly condemnable. This is contempt against the elected representatives that have the power of oversight on the executive arm, and by extension, the Nigerian citizenry as a whole,” Adeniran said.
The anti-corruption crusader therefore urged the lower chamber to exercise its constitutional powers by compelling the minister and the NNPC chief to appear before it, stressing that “unless this issue is addressed with all seriousness, this probe may go the way of other probes”.