The House of Representatives has asked the Nigeria Police and Department of State Services to probe the spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, over allegations that Bill Gates bribed the House with $10 million to pass the Infectious Disease Bill.
The call for the probe and criminal prosecution of Ugochinyere by the House followed the adoption of the report of its ad-hoc committee on the matter, chaired by Rep Henry Nwawuba.
The House also resolved to activate processes for requisite redress against the CUPP spokesman over the allegation.
The lawmakers said despite alleging that lawmakers collected $10 million to work on the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, he failed to appear before the House Ad-hoc Committee to prove it.
The House also resolved to sue Ikenga for criminal libel, misinformation and criminal defamation of the character of members of the House.
Members of the House urged media organisations to ensure due diligence in research and investigative journalism, especially when dealing with matters and issues that could lead to a breach of the peace in the polity.
It would be recalled that following the introduction of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 on April 28 on the floor of the House, Ugochinyere alleged in a press release that the leadership and members of the House were induced with $10 million by some foreign attention, particularly the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to pass the bill.
On May 5, the Deputy Speaker of the House Rep. Ahmed Idris Wase, drew the attention of the House to the various publications on the allegation, following which the House unanimously considered the allegation as false, divisive and incisive, deliberately designed to breach its privilege and undermine national security.
Consequently, the House constituted the ad-hoc panel to investigate the allegations with a view to determining the facts and setting the records straight.
The Committee was also to determine the script of the allegation, its source, whether any member of the House was involved in any discussion or negotiation on the purported offer of the said sum and interrogate all stakeholders, including the media sources that published the story.
The Committee held its investigative hearing on May 18, where the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation vehemently denied the allegations.
Some newspaper organisations such as the Vanguard also apologised to the House for carrying the press release without doing due diligence.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had expressed shock that its name was mentioned in the allegation when it knew nothing about it.
Thus, the Committee found that the allegation by the CUPP spokesman had a singular motive of disparaging the House for ulterior political and social media capital.
The report said: “The Committee, therefore, finds that Barrister Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere seems to have deliberately embarked on the trip of falsehood and misinformation just to massage the idiosyncratic ego and score cheap social capital.”
Giving the synopsis of the report at plenary on Tuesday, Rep. Gibeon Goroki, who stood in for Nwawuba, said the report was the outcome of a resolution of the House.
Goroki said Ugochinyere refused to show up at the investigative hearing to substantiate his claims, arguing that the matter was already under litigation.
He said it was in light of his failure to show up at the hearing that the committee recommended that he should be sued for criminal libel, misinformation and criminal defamation of character with the appropriate institutions.
The report was considered and adopted by the House.