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Home arrow Africa arrow Nigeria speaker goes in graft row
Nigeria speaker goes in graft row PDF Print E-mail
Written by BBC   
Oct 30, 2007 at 01:27 PM
Nigeria's parliamentary speaker resigns after weeks of stalemate over a report into alleged corruption.

An inquiry found her guilty of breaking house rules in awarding contracts worth $5m to refurbish houses and buy cars.

But she had repeatedly refused to step aside and allow a temporary speaker to chair a debate into the findings.

Parliamentary business, including a debate on Nigeria's budget, has been held up for weeks as a result of the affair that has gripped the nation.

The affair has become a major embarrassment for President Umaru Yar'Adua who promised zero tolerance on corruption but failed to intervene, despite increasingly angry protests.

Heated

Mrs Etteh, a former beautician and ruling party member, is accused of irregularities in spending $5m of government money to buy 12 cars and renovate two official residences - her own and that of a deputy.

She had consistently denied any wrongdoing but opponents argued forcibly that she should step aside temporarily to allow someone else to chair the debate into the findings of the panel of inquiry, chaired by David Iroko.

The row became so heated that a brawl broke out in parliament earlier this month, during which one pro-Etteh MP collapsed and died.

Anti-Etteh demo in Abuja on 30 October 2007
Protestors marched outside parliament in Abuja

Mrs Etteh's aides told the BBC that the speaker had decided that she could no longer continue and that her deputy, Babangida Nguroje, has also resigned.

The lower house elected Terngu Tsegba, an opposition politician from central Benue State, as the acting speaker.

Mr Tsegba will now preside over the Iroko debate, which is expected to take up to a week.

Parliament will then have to elect a permanent replacement to Mrs Etteh.


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Last Updated ( Oct 30, 2007 at 01:36 PM )
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