Barely three days after the emergency session of the House of Representatives, a plot to incriminate Speaker Aminu Tambuwal in the $620,000 cash-for-clearance scandal has been uncovered.
Some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and aggrieved government officials have been fingered in the scheming against Tambuwal.
Besides, two policemen are being detained for “smuggling” out the suspended Chairman of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Mr. Farouk Lawan, from his cell on Friday night to bath at home.
There are fears that the policemen may have been compromised, but for the vigilance of the Coordinator of the Special Task Force, CP Ali Amodu.
The Nation learnt that the plot to implicate Tambuwal is said to be part of the ongoing investigation of a “new clue” provided by a businessman, Femi Otedola, who alleged that Lawan could not have acted alone.
Otedola said he gave Lawan $620,000 to get his Zenon Oil off the list of companies which abused fuel subsidy.
It was gathered that security agencies had discovered a segment of the video tape of the bribery scam in which Lawan told Otedola that “he had collected his own too”.
Although it was learnt that no name was actually mentioned by Lawan, there is an attempt to link the said “he” to the Speaker.
According to sources, some forces have been mounting pressure on a few others being investigated in connection with the bribe to implicate the Speaker and pave the way for his arrest.
A source also claimed that as part of the plot, some anti-Tambuwal forces are trying to influence the police and other security agencies to ask Otedola to substantiate his claim on what he meant by the fact that Lawan could not have acted alone.
Otedola may also be asked to unmask the “he” in what looked like a trap for Tambuwal.
The source added: “Some forces have been so desperate to have the Speaker implicated in the bribery scam. They do not even mind dropping any case against Lawan if the Speaker can come into the picture.
“Some stalwarts of the PDP and the affected government officers have told Lawan that he was actually not the target of the cash-for-bribe scandal. They said the Speaker was their aim because of the manner in which he is romancing with opposition parties to the detriment of the ruling Peoples Democratic party.
“They alleged that Tambuwal is not a loyal party man and he must be whipped into line or shown the way out. They are angry that the PDP is being rubbished. These forces are seeking Lawan’s cooperation to ‘deal’ with Tambuwal.
“They said if Lawan can cooperate, the PDP will make sure that he gets the 2015 governorship ticket in Kano State .
“They said the manner in which the Speaker got an overwhelming vote of confidence and a standing ovation made it to look as if the House had triumphed over some officers in the Executive arm and the ruling PDP.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “These forces wielded a divide-and-rule card by telling Lawan to appreciate the fact that the House leadership has betrayed him.
“But as a man of conscience, Lawan believes he was set up and he prefers to go the whole hog in the court to clear his hard-earned name than being granted reprieve on the basis of any mischief.”
Upon discovery of the plot, it was learnt that the House leadership has put all members on the alert of the ultimate goal of destabilising the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
A principal officer of the House, who pleaded not to be named because of what he described as the sensitivity of the matter, said: “The Speaker has travelled to Asaba for a function, but we have notified all members of this plot.
“We stand by our vote of confidence in the Speaker and we will resist any move by any group or persons to destabilise the House under any guise.”
The two policemen detained for allegedly smuggling out Lawan out of his Force CID Area 10 cell are undergoing interrogation. They may face an Orderly Room Trial if found culpable.
A source said: “Having been kept among criminals on Thursday night, Lawan was also not allowed to take his bath Friday morning before he was taken to the Force Headquarters for interrogation.
“But Lawan repeatedly demanded that the police should be fair to him by allowing him to freshen up. The policemen on duty decided to take the lawmaker out of the cell to his residence at Apo Legislative Quarters to bath and return to the cell.
“The policemen claimed that they did it on compassionate ground and to protect Lawan’s fundamental rights since he is still a suspect.
“But Lawan was hardly smuggled out when other policemen on duty alerted the Special Task Force Co-ordinator, CP Ali Amodu, who immediately stormed the FCID.”
Amodu, who ordered immediate return of Lawan to the cell, also ordered the duo’s detention.
The policemen said they were not influenced to take Lawan home, but they took cognisance of his complaint and state of health to allow the lawmaker to freshen up.
They also said Lawan was escorted home under tight security, it was learnt.
But the acting Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji M.D. Abubakar, has asked the STF to probe the circumstances under which Lawan was taken home and for how long.
As at press time, investigation of the two policemen, who are rated as “good hands”, was on.
The thrust of the probe is the suspicion of alleged plan to give Lawan a ‘waiver to sleep at home.’
It was learnt that before Lawan was released on Saturday, Amodu, warned the lawmaker against a repeat of such in future.
Amodu said if Lawan had any discomfort, he should have contacted the STF or the police hierarchy for clearance.
“We have enough convenience to take care of the need of the lawmaker. If the policemen acted in good faith and there is no trace of inducement they will be cautioned.
But if there is any infraction, the policemen will be in trouble. For now, they are replacing Lawan in the same cell,” a police source added.