Sacked Nigerian minister fights back on bribe charge
   ABUJA, March 24 (AFP) - Nigeria's sacked education
minister claimed Thursday that he was the victim of a
political plot and demanded an apology from the
anti-graft investigators who held him in custody for
four days.
   President Olusegun Obasanjo dismissed Fabian Osuji
during a televised speech Tuesday after alleging that
the minister had paid the president of the Senate,
Adolphus Wabara, a 55 million naira (316,000 euro,
417,000 dollar) bribe.
   Two days later, in legal papers lodged at the
Federal High Court in Abuja, Osuji's lawyers alleged
that the former minister "has been made a scapegoat
and victim of political intrigues as a result of no
fault of his".
   Osuji's challenge seeks to compel Nigeria's two
anti-corruption agencies to drop a threat to re-arrest
him and to order them to apologise for last week's
detention. The court has yet to set a date for the
application to be heard.
   In Tuesday's address, Obasanjo told the nation that
Osuji was one of a number of ministers reported to
have used misappropriated public funds to bribe Wabara
and other senior lawmakers to boost their departmental

   In reponse, the minister described the huge payment
as a "public relations lobby fund" and said that he
would co-operate fully with any investigation.
   Osuji also made public a letter he sent to
Obasanjo's office in January in which he complains
that he is being blackmailed by mysterious figures who

claimed to have been asked to investigate him by the
   Nigeria is widely regarded as one of the most
corrupt countries in the world and in his speech
Obasanjo warned officials that their blatant greed and

dishonesty had undermined his attempts to win
international debt relief.

Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Abuja.
Hon. Austin Opara, Deputy Speaker of the Fed House of Reps.
Hon. Abdul Ningi, House Leader, Fed House of Reps.
Dear Honourable Members of the Federal House of Representatives,
Re: Issue of Corruption in Nigeria...
I read with disappointment the news-media reports of the "Resolution of Nigeria's Federal House of Representatives" regarding the allegation of corruption leveled against some top Federal Government Executives & some top Members of our National Assembly, which was addressed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his recent broadcast to the nation.
As a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria, I am extremely disappointed that our Legislators are more concerned about "intimidation" from the executive arm of government, rather than focusing on the implications of the damage that a few Senators & Reps have done to the name and integrity of our National Assembly!
WE ALL PRAY (& hope) THAT WE CAN WORK TOWARDS ENDING CORRUPTION IN OUR NATION, but this "Resolution of the House" (as reported by the News-Media) appears to go against the "Hopes & Aspirations of the vast majority of Nigerians for a less-corrupt nation."
We want a Nigeria where people can do legitimate business without having to bribe anyone...!
We want a Nigeria where Policemen do not have to resort to taking bribes before they can feed their families...!
We want a Nigeria where Custom Officers at our borders do not have to take bribes to supplement their incomes...!
We want a Nigeria where our Public Officers treat Government Funds as the people's money, rather than their "personal vaults"...!
We want a Nigeria that is not regarded internationally as "one of the most corrupt nations in the world"...
We, as a nation, have gone through several years of difficulty; but we want and we deserve a better future!
I URGE YOU, and beg you, to work for a better Nigeria; at all times!
As the "Federal House of Representatives" of the nation that has the largest concentration of "Black-People" in the world (aka: Nigeria), you must LEAD BY EXAMPLE!   You must also challenge the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to 'lead by example', so that the 2 Chambers can clean out corrupt-practices in the National Assembly of our Federal Republic of Nigeria.
How do we ever expect Nigeria to become a "true-leader" in Africa (& the world) if we cannot cleanup our corrupt practices in the land? 
How do we expect Nigeria to be respected by other nations, or get a Permanent-Seat on the United Nations Security Council, or get Debt-Relief from our creditors (Paris Club, etc.), or become a truly civilized nation..., when our National Assembly {Federal House of Representatives & Senate} is NOT SPEAKING OUT LOUDLY AGAINST CORRUPTION IN THE LAND?
I urge you to "DO THE RIGHT THING";  ...Clean up the corruption in our land!
As said by the President of our Federal Republic of Nigeria in his recent broadcast on this issue, "It is the responsibility of the National Assembly to cleanse itself, to show to Nigerians that it deserves their respect, to rebuild public confidence and to flush out those members who continue to derogate and degrade its integrity and stature."
May God give us all the strength and willpower to build a better nation; Amen.
Keep Hope Alive!
Warmest Regards,
Dr Toks Owoeye, (Ibokun, Obokun LGA, Ijesa-North Federal Constituency, Osun-State).
=============  Hon Oluwole Oke, Ijesa-North (Obokun/Oriade) Federal Constituency.
....culled from Vanguard News......
Reps confront Obasanjo on N55m bribe scandal * He is wrong, say indicted Reps
By Rotimi Ajayi & Kingsley Omonobi, {Posted to the Web: Thursday, March 24, 2005}
ABUJA-THE House of Representatives protested yesterday over Tuesday's broadcast of President Olusegun Obasanjo castigating the National Assembly and some of its members as corrupt. The president wrote to the legislative arm yesterday to formally inform members of the allegations against some of them.
The Reps resolved at a marathon executive session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Austin Opara, that the president's allegations amounted to attempt by the executive arm to intimidate the legislature from performing its oversight functions.
The resolution was read to newsmen by the House leader, Alhaji Abdul Ningi, while two members of the House named by the President in the budget bribe scandal denied any involvement.
The House resolution: "On Tuesday, 22nd March 2005, the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, made a broadcast to the nation during which he levelled serious allegations of official corruption at the President of the Senate, some Senators and three members of the House of Representatives, an allegation which all decent and well-meaning Nigerians will justifiably be concerned about.
"The House, this morning (Wednesday, 23rd March 2005) equally received communications from Mr President on the subject matter, which it has referred to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria. The said committee is to report back to the House in two weeks.
"The House of Representatives has so far conducted itself with integrity, credibility, honour, candour and respectability. This House on its own volition enacted a Code of Conduct for its members because it believes members should be above board.
"This House has been in the vanguard of the fight against corruption. In this wise, the House of Representatives has conducted investigations into the following matters and is considering reports namely:
* Bureau of Public Enterprises/Nitel/Pentascope
* The case of Missing Ship (MV African Pride)
* Ajaokuta Steel Co. Ltd/Solgas
* Military Pension Board
* National Housing Fund
* Privatisation Share Purchase Loan Scheme Fund
* National Identity Card Corruption Scam
* The Halliburton Case
* The former IGP Tafa Balogun Corruption Saga
"The House also passed the EFCC Establishment Act 2004; ICPC and Related Offences Act and various amendments; and Money Laundering Prohibition Bill among others.
"While we share Mr President's anxiety over the issue of corruption, we caution that over-sweeping comments like that contained in Mr President's national broadcast has very serious implication for our democracy.

"The war against corruption should not be against the National Assembly as an institution but against any identifiable individual after conclusive investigations and fair hearing.
"The power of adjudication in criminal trials as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is specifically conferred on the judiciary, not the legislature and not the Executive television trial and conviction.
"The House will not be intimidated in the pursuit of its constitutional responsibility of law-making and carrying out its oversight function over the Executive and other arms of government. Sections 4 and 88 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are very clear on this matter.
"We will continue to collectively defend the integrity of this nation and work as respected House of Representatives that will be a pride of all. Democracy is a journey, not a destination. It is a complex learning curve, which requires serious commitment from all stake holders, so that collectively we can journey towards the goals."
Indicted Reps denied allegation:-
Addressing newsmen yesterday, two of three members of the House named in the bribe scandal, Messrs Gabriel Suswan and Osita Ozinazu, denied their involvement.
Mr Suswan said the President was wrong to accuse him in the broadcast when the EFCC had not concluded its investigations on the matter. He circulated a purported EFCC report on which the President based his accusation. Both legislators said they were not worried about the accusation by the President.
On his part, Mr Ozinazu admitted that he knew Professor Jude Njoku, who was alleged to have contributed part of the N55 million only as the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology located in Owerri, the lawmaker's home state.
Vanguard gathered that the federal legislators' meeting after Tuesday's broadcast was poised to curtail what they perceived as the overbearing tendencies of the president.
Towards this end, several committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives have been constituted to work out a strategy between now and their resumption from the Easter break to counter whatever moves made by the president.
Sources said the NASS members saw the action of the president in asking the Senate President and his colleagues to subject themselves to sanction as an insult and embarrassment. They wondered what the president had done to deal with perceived corruption in the executive arm.
Meanwhile, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Education, Dr Shehu Matazu, and his Senate counterpart, Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez, who are currently out of the country are due back home on Sunday, according to the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Abdul Ningi.
Both Matazu and Abdulazeez were indicted by the President on the bribe scandal, which drew an unusual large crowd to the National Assembly yesterday.
According to Alhaji Ningi, Dr Matazu was in touch with him on telephone yesterday morning and promised to return on Sunday. Ningi said: "As early as 7.00a.m. today (yesterday), I spoke with Garba Matazu and Senate Education Chairman where they were on official assignment in Singapore and the Speaker is aware of the trip."

why do we blame Wabara.This is a man whose electoral
victory was controversial,yet the president saw him
fit to enter the  upper house and even got to the
elevated position of senate president.A corrupt man
can not change his character overnight.The president
wanted somebody who will carry out his wishes without
question,that underscored the choice of Wabara as
member of senate and as senate president.Corruption
can only beget corruption.Watch out for the
president's next choice of a senate president.The
Uba's may be gunning for that position now.The
PRESIDENT himself needs to be probed.It is said that
character is not made at periods of crisis it is only