Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources ( Downstream ), Senator Magnus Abe, has said that it is not possible for President Goodluck Jonathan to prevent Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Deziani Allison – Madueke, from appearing before any committee of the National Assembly.
Abe, who stated this in an interview with some journalists in Abuja on Saturday, therefore warned appointees of the Federal Government from using the name of Jonathan to challenge the powers of the National Assembly.
Alison-Madueke, who is being probed by the House of Representatives over an allegation that she spent N10bn on a chartered aircraft, has said that the National Assembly cannot investigate her without first obtaining the consent of Jonathan.
The minister and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, who made the submissions in an affidavit they filed in support of a fresh suit before an Abuja Federal High Court to stop the probe, maintained that the House Committee on Public Accounts lacked the power to even summon her to appear before it.
But Abe insisted that the minister and the NNPC management would have been summoned by his committee if not for its pre-occupation with the consultants working on the Petroleum Industry Bill, which according to him, had reached an advanced stage.
He said, “As far as the National Assembly is concerned, our constitutional powers and responsibilities are clear, anybody in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is required to answer questions which the National Assembly can ask.
“If on the contrary the court gives an order to that respect, we will not disobey the court order. But such an order would be vigorously contested by the National Assembly.
“Any minister, who at this point begins to use the name of the President to challenge the powers of the National Assembly, is not doing the president any favour, because the president needs the National Assembly more than he needs the minister.
“If it becomes a choice between any minister and the National Assembly, no president will choose a minister above the National Assembly. It is not something that we need to contest in court. We can contest it politically. The minister will still appear.”