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Nigerian Permanent Secretary, DGs risk two-year jail term for contempt of Reps

Nigerian Permanent Secretary, DGs risk two-year jail term for contempt of Reps

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Amina Shamaki, has run into trouble with the House of Representatives.

She led Directors-General of agencies under her ministry to the House of Representative on Thursday May 31st for a public hearing on eight bills on the ministry’s agencies.

Rather than attend the meeting, she allegedly directed the DGs not to attend the meeting, but return to their offices.

The reason for her action remains unknown, but the committee is angry and threatens to punish her.

Represented by Beni Lar, who represents Lantang North and South of Plateau State, the committee said Shamaki and her ministry’s top officials face sanctions to the tune of two-year jail term or N500,000 fine.

“I want to bring to the attention of the House a breach of privilege that occurred on Thursday May 31st, when a Committee on Science and Technology was holding a public hearing on eight bills. On that day, the committee was seated. Two hours into our sitting, we noticed movement around, and we noticed the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology was shuffling out and inside for sometime. And, then, later on, she walked in and sat down in our committee meeting.

“Apparently, she had ordered that the DGs that were attending walked out of the public hearing. I had the gut to inform her to come to the front and sit down, I was told she would not sit. Within a short, she left, and I was informed reliably by the DGs who brought letters and showed me that they had been issued queries outside, she had given them letter instructing them to restrain from joining the public sitting on that Thursday, and from participating. If they did, they would be queried.

“And, they had been made to sign for such letters outside on the corridor where we were making the committee’s public hearing. When I heard the DGs come to me and they had to leave the public, at that point, I was shocked, and I reacted

“And, I purposely said that anybody that leaves this public hearing based on the threat of the Permanent Secretary is also going to be charged for legislative contempt.

“But, Mr Speaker, I want to bring the action of the permanent secretary before us, because she has committed legislative contempt of the highest order,” Lar said.

She noted that the ministry had been “in shambles. There is strike going on.”

She pleaded that the matter be referred to the House Ethics and Privileges Committee for appropriate action.

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