The National House of Assembly of Nigeria has turned to gallery where the citizens are turned to spectators listening and watching carefully every steps taking by the big actors of the scene, the Senator Sheikh Dino Melaye, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Custom Services, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd.), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Magu and the Speaker of the National House of Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki. In all of this without gainsaying, a foundation that is built on nothing will not stand.
Yesterday Tuesday, 21 March, 2017 the honourable house of the national assembly has vowed to conduct investigation into the several issues before the house.
Starting with the probe of the alleged accusation levied against the Hon. Speaker of the National House of Assembly, Dr. Bukola Saraki over abuse of power and that an armoured Range Rover car said to worth over N290 million belonging to the Speaker of National House of Assembly, Dr. Bukola Saraki and same impounded by the Nigeria Customs Service and university certificate issues bordering on incomplete first degree qualification of Senator Dino Melaye from the department of Geography at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The motion to probe the above persons and issues raised was moved by an hon. Member of the National House of Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume from Benue State, ex-Majority Leader of the National House of Assembly,
The genesis of the whole scenario came on board when one of the investigative journalist platform in the country SaharaReporters blew the whistle sometimes in March 2017 with that the alleged accusation in a report circulated online, that the above mentioned Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), allegedly belonging to the Speaker of the National House of Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki, was the basis upon which the Senator Bukola Saraki was moving against the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Custom Services, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd.).
The SaharaReporters blew the whistle that spread over the nooks and crannies of the country that the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) was impounded and intercepted on sometimes in January, 2017, by the Nigeria Custom Services for allegedly parading fake documents.
The National House of Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume from Benue State, ex-Majority Leader of the National House of Assembly, at the plenary session at the National House of Assembly on Tuesday, disclosed that previous certificate scandals involving members of the National Assembly were probed by the lawmakers.
the National House of Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume from Benue State, ex-Majority Leader of the National House of Assembly also disclosed that, “One has to do with the distinguished Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, and it was reported in a paper; I have it here. With your permission, I will want to, after making presentation, lay it down. It says that, ‘Senate on Vengeance After Nigeria Customs Service seized Senator Bukola Saraki’s bulletproof Range Rover Over Fake Documents.’
“My colleagues that are following events, particularly online, have seen, heard or read the rain of abuses on this House of Assembly, the Senate and the misconception of the fact that we invited the Customs Controller General Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd.) based on a very unpopular policy that affects the people we represent.
“During the 4th Assembly, Salisu Buhari was accused of certificate forgery; he was investigated and his fate determined. After that, in the 5th Assembly, Bello Masari was accused of certificate forgery (secondary school); it was investigated and was cleared. In the 6th National Assembly, Dimeji Bankole was accused of not having NYSC certificate; it was investigated and he had to show his NYSC certificate.
“Now, that brings me to the second matter. In the National Assembly, here in the Senate of the 4th Assembly, Enwerem was accused and it was also investigated. Wabara was accused of collecting a bribe and it was investigated and determined. So, a lot of precedence had been set. Now, the second matter of privilege affects my colleague, Sheikh Dino Melaye, and it is in The Punch of today (Tuesday) on Page 10; I have the newspaper. In The Punch, it says, ‘Dino Melaye in first degree certificate scandal.’”
the National House of Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume from Benue State, ex-Majority Leader of the National House of Assembly further proceeded and quoted an online medium with a report titled, ‘Dino Melaye Allegedly Did Not Graduate From University.’
the National House of Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume from Benue State, ex-Majority Leader of the National House of Assembly reiterated that, “Therefore, accordingly, I will appeal we refer the matter to the Ethics and Privileges Committee to investigate so that our colleagues would be cleared and this Senate will stand as it is supposed to.”
Senator Ali Ndume submitted on the above ground and the presiding officer of the house of Assembly, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu call for decorum and order in the house and held as follows that the issues raised by Senator Ali Ndume over the certificate issues be referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, which was asked to report back to the lawmakers in four weeks.
At the proceedings of the house session, there was diverse discussion on the issues raised by Senator Ali Ndume.
In response to journalist at the corridor of the National House of Assembly, the Special Adviser to Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, in a statement, stated that the allegation “lacks basis as it was outright falsehood.”
That “A supplier was engaged by the Senate to supply a vehicle, while transferring the vehicle between Lagos and Abuja, it was impounded by the Nigeria Customs Service. We believe that is an issue between the supplier and the Nigeria Customs Service because the Senate has not taken delivery. So, why is somebody trying to drag the name of Senator Bukola Saraki into the issue?
“The documents on the vehicle are there for the general public to view and make their conclusions. Now that the matter has been referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, all the facts will be out.”
Also Senator Dino Melaye, while speaking with journalists, it was discovered Senator Dino Melaye is a member of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, but while responding to questions he stated that he is ready to be probed and investigated. Senator Dino Melaye further stated that he would suspend his membership of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions pending the determination of the investigation and probe.
Senator Dino Melaye further quoted as follows, “I’m here to respond to the issue raised by the … senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Ali Ndume. I want to say, to me, it is a welcome development. Democracy is about investigation and no senator is above investigation. To me, it is a welcome development and it will finally clear the air on all the malicious and vindictive allegations.
“To say that I did not graduate from ABU is to say that I am not a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ABU is a very prestigious university in this country and it is not possible for one to be running a Master’s programme in the university when one did not graduate from a university. I have successfully completed one and I am doing the second one.
“I want to announce that this is the eighth degree that I am pursuing. I am also a graduate of the University of Abuja, where I did Master’s in Policy Analysis. I am a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science. I am also a graduate of Harvard University. The course I am pursuing now will make it my eighth degree.”
Journalists put questions to him on his status as to the membership of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions? Senator Dino Melaye replied, “Definitely, in the interest of justice, I will excuse myself from the consideration of this matter except when invited for questioning.”
Senator Dino Melaye further stated that, “I have my admission letters, results, certificate of discharge from ABU. Not only that, I was the Student Union Government President of ABU. On three occasions, I was the most popular student on campus.”
When journalists called the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Information Officer, Mr. Adamu Muhammed, told one of journalist present at the gathering of journalists that the Ahmadu Bello University would issue a formal statement on the status of Dino Melaye that the university is “gathering all the facts from the faculty and the department concern and the University will issue a press statement tomorrow.”