BusinessDay

Demand for bribes not new among Nigeria’s lawmakers, says ex-INEC boss

Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, has alleged that some members of the National Assembly often demand bribes when carrying out their committee work and oversight duties.

In a video circulating on the internet and social media, Jega is seen saying that he had an encounter with chief executives and vice-chancellors of universities who said they had a bitter experience with federal lawmakers during the lawmakers’ committee work and oversight duties to the higher institutions.

The professor of political science said that some committee chairmen in the National Assembly had become ‘notorious’ in the act, while the issue was not new in the country. He wondered why it had not been investigated by the security agencies.

“Regrettably, many of the chief executives that I have spoken with, and I know only a few, have terrible stories to tell, particularly about the issue of bribe giving and taking when members of the National Assembly pursue so-called committee work and oversight responsibility,” Jega said in the video, apparently speaking at a public function.

“This is well known, everybody knows it. It is being said but nothing seems to be done about it and I wonder what is happening to the intelligence and investigative responsibility of our security and policing agencies.

“Some chairmen of committees in the National Assembly have become notorious for relentlessly, with impunity, demanding for bribes. Back in the university system, I have heard stories from vice-chancellors about the horror that they go through on question of budget and oversight,” he said.

Jega added that he was not claiming that chief executives were saints, but that it was necessary that public office holders have common decency and integrity in the discharge of their duties for the country to attain the position it desires.

“I am not saying that chief executives are saints, but all we are saying is that we must cast the searchlight so that Nigerians and particularly public office holders should have basic common decency, integrity in the discharge of their duties because that is the only way we can make progress in this country,” he said.

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