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Oil Theft: Reps Threaten To Subpoena Service Chiefs Over Non-Appearance

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ABUJA, June 27, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives and two of the nation's security chiefs are on a collision course as the former threatened to subpoena the later should they fail to appear before its Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources and Navy.

Chairman of the Joint Committee, Rep. Muraina Ajibola who issued the threat on Wednesday said the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Olusheyi Petinrin and the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim must appear to testify in the on going public hearing on the unprecedented upsurge in illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta.

The joint caommittee had on Tuesday issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the two military chiefs to appear before it at the on-going public hearing.

Committee Chairman Muraina had warned that failure to appear on Wednesday would attract sanctions.

But the two service chiefs failed to honour the invitation and instead sent their subordinates who informed the Committee that their bosses were attending the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar also sent a representative.

Angered by the development, the committee declined to take any presentation from the representatives of the military Chiefs insisting that they must appear before the committee.

Muraina consequently warned that the committee would not hesitate to issue a warrant of arrest on the two should they continue to ignore the invitation without genuine reasons.

"We are not ready to deviate from our rules and we are not going to allow any junior officer to make the presentation because we don't want a situation where statements would be misinterpreted by the superior officers.

"We want the security chiefs to come and brief us on matters of security as it relates to illegal bunkering.

"The laws are there, what we should do is to operate within the confines of the laws, I am constrained to say this again, but Section 11 of the Legislative powers and privileges Act stated clearly that it is a criminal offense to turn down summons to appear before the House.

"Let no one take us for granted, things are not working in this country because we deliberately make our institutions very weak because we don't want them to be strong,” the Chairman added.