Seizure of Mark, Tambuwal, others’ passports: New PDP withdraws allegations
by Olawale Rasheed and Clement Idoko-Abuja
THE Kawu Baraje-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has withdrawn its earlier allegations and condemnation of purported withdrawal of diplomatic passports of leaders and members of the National Assembly, admitting that there is no truth in the said report.
The faction had, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, expressed worries about what it called “the dire implications of the reported directive by the presidency for the withdrawal of the diplomatic passports of the Senate president, David Mark, speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal and other members of the National Assembly.
But in a sudden volte face, the faction, in a counter statement, withdrew the allegations.
“Following the new revelations from both the presidency and the National Assembly, through our national chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, that there is no iota of truth in the report that the presidency has directed the withdrawal of the diplomatic passports of the leadership and members of the National Assembly, as reported in most of the national dailies today (Sunday), we hereby withdraw the release on this subject matter, pending further investigation of the facts.
“Though our release was an attempt to alert the president to the implication if such an unholy move was found to be true, but now that it has been confirmed that there is no such a move, we thank God, as that would have been an unwise policy that will work against the presidency of Dr Jonathan,” the withdrawal statement noted.
The faction, however, stood by its earlier disclosure that “Senator Joy Emordi was sacked as Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters because of her candid advice that inducing members of the National Assembly financially to impeach their principal officers would be counter-productive. If this is true, we hereby demand her immediate reinstatement.”
The statement observed that “Senator Emordi, to be bold enough to tell the president the implication of such a corrupt inducement of the lawmakers, should earn commendation rather than a sack,” advising that “instead of sacking such a forthright and patriotic amazon, the president should sack those hawks around him planning to ridicule him by encouraging him to embark on acts capable of making him very unpopular among his supporters and followers.
On the alleged stoppage of work at the Port Harcourt airport, the Baraje faction demanded the immediate sack of the Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), has denied reports in some sections of the media that it has been ordered to withdraw all diplomatic passports of National Assembly members, including that of Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives.
Spokesman of the service, Mr Obua Chukwuemeka, told the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja, on Sunday, through telephone that the service had never received any such directive from the presidency or any other source.
He said he was surprised to read the report on two national dailies (Nigerian Tribune inclusive), suggesting that the presidency sought the advice of the Comptroller-General of immigration on the issue.
Chukwuemeka said to the best of his knowledge, there was no such order to withdraw the diplomatic passports of the lawmakers, adding that NIS had never directed any of its officials to enforce any such order.
“I think this is pure mischief and an attempt by some persons to cause strain relationship between the Comptroller-General of Immigration and the National Assembly.
“How can it be possible for the presidency to bypass the Foreign Affairs ministry, even the Ministry of Interior and other relevant agencies to direct Immigration Service to carry out such an order?” he said.