A Nigerian Senator accused of acting out a script on behalf of corrupt officials in a scheme to investigate the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has lashed out against critics, including SaharaReporters.
Peter Nwaoboshi, who is a member of the Nigerian Senate Ethics Committee, described as “unnecessary sensationalization” the invitation to the chair of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, to appear to explain what the EFCC did with proceeds of corruption between 2003 and 2007.
He told a SaharaReporters correspondent who spoke to him by telephone on Tuesday that a People’s Democratic Party Senator, Godswill Akpabio, was wrong in his interpretation of the rules of the Senate regarding treatment of petitions received by the Upper House.
According to Senator Nwaoboshi, the rules clearly state that petitioners can send petitions through their representatives to the Senate. In that regard, he said, petitioner George Uboh of Ika had correctly sent his petition against the EFCC through him as the Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District.
He said he initialed the petition and sent it to the Senate President Bukola Saraki who then ordered his committee to act on the petition in accordance with Senate rules which states the President of the Senate has the discretion to forward it to the plenary, or to a committee.
He further asserted that a petition sent to the Senate needs no debate because petitions are not debated.
Senator Nwaoboshi accepted that Saraki was fully aware of the petition when he confessed that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was the one who referred the petition to the appropriate committee, thus confirming our report that Mr. Saraki was behind the petition in the first place. “After the investigation, it comes back to the plenary,” Nwaoboshi said.
Asked if he knew that the petitioner was a credit card criminal who was convicted in the United States between 1992 and 2011, he stated that he had never met Mr. Uboh.
As SaharaReporters pressed him for answers over questions of his loyalty to corrupt politicians, Senator Nwaoboshi got upset and began to shout at the top of his voice.
He was particularly upset when asked if he was connected with James Ibori, the former Governor of Delta State currently in jail in the United Kingdom for money laundering. Nwaoboshi confessed that he was an Ibori loyalist and has visited him several times in prison in the UK. He however claimed that his current crusade against the EFCC has no connection with Ibori, although he admitted the former governor had appointed him to several positions in the past.
“I am very worried that you ask me about Ibori, I am provoked by the fact that you ask me at all,” an enraged Nwaoboshi told our reporter, arguing that even the Police and the SSS have answered invitations extended to them. “Why is EFCC different?” he bellowed.
Describing his former governor, he said, “I have a cordial relationship with James Ibori. Ibori is my boss. He is my leader. I was a commissioner under Ibori.”