The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has adjourned the panel’s sitting set up to investigate a petition against the Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Cdre Emmanuel Effedua (rtd), by two weeks.
The petitioners were absent when chairman of the committee, Hon. Oluwole Oke, called them up during the panel’s sitting to defend their petitions.
Oke, who expressed that the National Assembly believes in giving fair hearing to all sides of any divide, averred that his committee will provide room for cross examination of the petitioners.
The committee’s chairman, who wondered why the petitioners didn’t come to defend their allegations, having caused his committee to serve the Rector copies of their petitions and duly invited him and the petitioners to meet at the National Assembly, urged them to show up on the next adjourned date.
According to Oke, the committee will not rely solely on any petition that the authors were not ready to defend, adding that writers of such petitions cannot just dump petitions on his committee without coming forward to defend what they wrote.
“Are the petitioners here? They can’t just dump petitions on us and not come to defend their petitions and face the DG. For fair hearing, we copied the Rector of the Academy and we expect the petitioners to be here because he who alleges must prove,” the lawmaker said.
He thereafter mandated the clerk of the committee to write the petitioners again and communicate the two-week adjournment to them, which is after the Eid-el-Kabir holidays.
Effedua, who submitted a written defence and responses to the petitions on oath, disclosed to the committee that over 6,500 petitions have been written against him for which he has been appearing before anti-graft agencies without any of the petitioners coming forward to defend their allegations.
He said the writers’ intention was to unduly deploy apparatus of state to derail the school because he stopped the culture of corruption and waste of government resources at the nation’s premier maritime training institution.
“Mr chairman, honourable members, I have had about 6,500 petitions. The corruption this committe is fighting is what some persons are using instrument of state to perpetuate.
“They have sent threat messages to me and have planned to poison me because I refused to share money.
“They claimed that before I came, money was being shared and they will ensure I am distracted from work. These series of petitions are part of the game plan to keep us disturbed from performing our duties. Since Easter, I have been defending petitions written with fake names and addresses.
“I am ready to always appear when called upon to defend any of the petitions. Since they have been writing, no single individual has shown up as a writer to defend any of these petitions,” the Rector said.