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MAN Oron: Committee Adjourns Public Hearing, Scolds Petitioners


The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday adjourned a public hearing on the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) for two weeks following non-appearance of sponsors of petitions against the Rector of the Academy, Commodore Duja Effedua.

House Committee Chairman, Hon. Busayo Oluwole Oke who expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of the petitioners, directed the Committee Clerk to write to the petitioners to make themselves available at the adjourned date; as he described their actions unacceptable.

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He noted that the task of the National Assembly is to provide fair hearing to all parties involved in  public investigation, with a guarantee that the subject of every petition will be conscientiously looked at, while there will also be opportunity for cross examination of both the  petitioners and the petitioned.

The petitioners failure to step out to defend their petitions at the venue of the public hearing,  Hon. Oke expressed disappointment over the petitioners failure to honour the committee’s invitation based on their petitions. He said he is particularly taken aback, because it was on the basis of their petitions that Rector MAN was served copies and invited him to the National Assembly.

The Committee Chairman explained that it is only when authors of petitions come out to prove their allegations that the National Assembly can make deductions over what is right or wrong, noting that people cannot just dump petitions on his committee without coming forward to defend issues and allegations raised, therein.

“They can’t just dump petitions on us and not come to defend their petitions and face those they have writing petition against. For fair hearing, we copied the Rector of the Academy and we expect the petitioners to be here because he who alleges must prove”, he said.

He mandated the Committee Clerk to send the petitioners another invitation letter for appearance in two weeks, before adjourning for two weeks.

It will be recalled that MAN Rector, recently raised an alarm over attempts to distract him with frivolous petitions by blackmailers and those believed to be disgruntled state political actors, who have writing to various organs of government including the police and all anti-graft agencies. Effedua said the petitioners are faceless, with unverified identities and fake postal and contact addresses.

Effedua who was also allowed to make a remark, informed the lawmakers that the whole intent for the futile petitions is the attempts to soil his reputation and a further attempt to raised false alarm in the hope that they (petitioners) could distort the facts of the ongoing successes being achieved at the Academy.

He told the committee that over 6,500 petitions have been written against him to different anti graft agencies, all aimed at spoiling the ground over their unwarranted and morbid fear of having him reappointed for a second term.

The Rector also expressed concern that sponsors of the petitioners have stopped at nothing in their jaded plot to stagger his exit, explaining the involvement of some state and senatorial actors.

According to him, part of the petitioners and their sponsors strategy is the attempt to derail the management’s focus for no other reason but that he stopped the culture of sharing the Academy’s money with with questionable characters, whom he said succeeded hitherto, in blackmailing previous leadership of the Academy.

His words: “Mr Chairman, honourable members I have had about 6500 petitions. The corruption this committee is fighting is what some persons are using instrument of state to perpetuate. They have sent threat messages to me and have planned to poison me because I refused to share money.

“They claim that before I came, money was being shared and they will ensure I am distracted and removed. These series of petitions are part of the game plan to keep us disturbed from performing our duties. Since Easter, I have been defending petitions written with fake names and addresses.”

“Since they have been writing, no single individual has shown up as a writer to defend any of the petitions. I am ready to always appear when called upon to defend any of the petitions.”

The Rector later submitted a written defence and responses to the petitions on oath which was adopted by the committee.

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