INEC’s former Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega has joined the list of people that publicly declared the National Assembly as a corrupt institution in Nigeria.
He alleged in his speech as guest speaker that the members of the National Assembly, especially committees, are in the custom of taking bribes.
“I wonder what is happening with intelligence and investigative responsibilities of security agencies in policing our National Assembly,” Jega said.
He was delivering his speech entitled Peace Keeping and Good Governance for Sustainable Development in Nigeria as part of the activities lined up for Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
“The fight against corruption has to be intensified in all its ramifications?
Jega joined former President Olusegun Obasanjo who has consistently referred to the federal lawmakers as “unarmed robbers”.
According to the professor of political science, there are many successes achieved which are commendable but the magnitude of the problem on the ground, especially bribe-taking in the NASS, is turning these into drops in the ocean.
In the gathering were President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, and the Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen.
He said the present administration should resist the temptation of restricting its ongoing anti-corruption war to embezzlement and theft alone.
“Some chairmen of the committees in the National Assembly have become notorious on this issue of demanding bribes with impunity,’ he said.
He cited instances of many vice chancellors complaining of the pressure they go through during budget defence and so-called oversight assignments.
“I am not saying that the chief executives are saints but all we are saying is that we must point the searchlights so that Nigerians and particularly public office holders should have basic common decency and integrity by which they discharge their responsibilities because virtually everybody seems to forget about what is going on.”
The Senate, however, has denied Jega’s allegation.
The upper house asked him to publish names of senators who had demanded bribes, or apologise to the lawmakers.
“This is not new. He is not saying anything new, people have been saying that before,” said Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi.
Many of the senators, reps, and committee chairmen have started denying the allegations, too., asking Jega to mention names instead of generalising.