ANALYSIS: The many controversies of sacked Nigerian lawmaker, Herman Hembe

Herman Hembe [Photo Credit: The Whistler]
Herman Hembe [Photo Credit: The Whistler]

The Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday sacked Herman Hembe from the House of Representatives.

The Court said Mr. Hembe, who represents Vandikwa/Konshisha constituency of Benue State was not the valid candidate of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

The court also ordered that Mr. Hembe be replaced with Dorathy Mato, who was declared the right winner of the APC primaries.

Mr. Hembe was also ordered to refund to the National Assembly within 90 days all monies he has so far collected as salaries and allowances or emoluments.

He was also ordered to pay a cost of N200,000 to Mrs. Mato.

Before his sack, however, Mr. Hembe has been enmeshed in various controversies in the Nigerian parliament.

ROW WITH OTEH

He first came to prominence when as the chairman of the House committee on capital market, he chaired the committee’s public hearing investigating the crash of the Nigerian capital market.

On the second day of the hearing, Mr. Hembe accused the Director General of Securities and Exchange Committee, SEC, at the time, Arunma Oteh, of expending N30 million on hotel bills in eight months following her appointment in January 2010.

He also accused her of spending N850,000 on food in Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. He said Ms. Oteh, who currently serves as a Vice President of the World Bank, hired two staff of Access Bank, Charles Ugheli and Titi Olubiyi, to work as advisers to SEC, while they retained their position with the bank.

Ms. Oteh instantly fired back saying “Hembe lacks credibility. For instance, he collected estacode and other travel allowances from the Securities and Exchange Commission to travel to the Dominican Republic on a capacity enhancement conference for capital market regulators. He did not go neither did he return the money collected.”

She added that he also “asked the commission to contribute N39 million towards the ongoing charade of a public hearing and demanded another N5 million cash on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. He made both demands by proxy. So, I doubt it if I can have fair hearing from this committee and this fact has been more than demonstrated with the way you are handling this important issue.”

ENCOUNTER WITH ANYIM

In February this year, the House of Representatives mandated its committee on Federal Capital Territory to investigate the Centenary City project in Abuja.

On the first day of the hearing, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Pius Anyim, accused Mr. Hembe, who was the chairman of the committee, of pursuing a personal agenda.

When it was time for Mr. Anyim to speak, he said “Mr. Chairman, I want to put it to you that you have personal motives, you have told everyone who cared to listen that when the former Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Ms. Arunma Oteh accused you of demanding bribe, you have pushed for her sack and I refused to sack her as the SGF, so this is an opportunity to get back at me.

“You have been threatening to conduct this public hearing for over one year now, we only discovered your game plan for all the postponement when you started sending messages to the Managing Director to come and see you privately, I want you to know that nobody will come and see you privately”.

SPAT WITH JIBRIN

Mr. Hembe also engaged in a war of words with the former chairman of the House Appropriation committee, Abdulmumuni Jibrin, after the House suspended the latter for one year when he accused the leadership of budget padding.

Mr. Jibrin had travelled to the UK shortly after he was suspended and returned to the country after some time.

Mr. Hembe said Mr. Jibrin returned to Nigeria because he was about to be arrested in the UK. He issued a statement saying “I understand that the suspended Hon. Abdulmumuni Jibrin has fled back to Nigeria after report of his ownership of five foreign accounts in Backlays Bank and property located at No. 81, Cotswold Gardens, London, NW2, 1PE in London was published,”

“I wish to remind Jibrin that there is no longer hiding place for criminals.

“He fled to UK after getting hint that anti-graft agencies in Nigeria were investigating him in order to avoid arrest and prosecution.

“Having realised that even in the UK the National Crime Agency and the Financial Intelligence Unit have already profiled him and may soon open and may soon open a case against him; he sneaked back to Nigeria.

“His days of freedom are numbered and sooner rather than later he will face the full wrath of the law.”

Mr. Jibrin swiftly responded to his former colleague via a statement in which he said,

“I returned to the country on the invitation of one of the anti-graft agencies who needed additional information from me as they were finalising investigation and ready to arraign Hon. Hembe and few others.

“I visited the agency and provided what they required and signed to stand witness.

“Hon. Hembe is obviously aware of this fact and has been panicky and running helter-skelter including trying to get the speaker to intervene and save him.

“I travelled peacefully from the Nnamdi Azikwe airport Abuja and landed at Heathrow Airport and same on my way back.

“I also enjoyed my stay in London and other part of Europe catching up with my vast international network, delivering lectures and granting interviews.

“I have responded to the lame allegations and my response are in the public glare.”

SHORT BIO

Mr. Hembe hails from Mbakpor clan in Mbake council ward of Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State. He is the second of six children in the family of the late Godwin Hembe, a professor of Political Science at the Benue State University, Makurdi.

He was born in Zaria, Kaduna State on June 22, 1975. He attended Mount Saint Gabriel’s Secondary School, Makurdi where he received a Senior School Certificate in 1992. He, thereafter, proceeded to the Benue State University, Makurdi, to study Law.

He graduated in 2001 and proceeded to the Nigeria Law School, Lagos where he obtained Barrister at Law (BL) Certificate in 2003. Mr. Hembe proceeded to the compulsory one-year youth service in Ogun State. He was posted to Nigeria Immigration Service, Abeokuta for his primary assignment.

He was first elected into the House of Representatives in 2007 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He won re-election in 2011 and moved to the APC in 2014.

He controversially picked the party’s ticket for the 2015 election and won the seat that the Supreme Court sacked him from on Friday.


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  • Secession Referendum

    Fellow citizens of Niger Delta Republic and by extension our brethren in the sister Biafran Republic, what we demand is a Secession Referendum…our own Niger Delta Republic. No more, no less.

    Secession Referendum is what we demand ELSE there shall be no more elections organized by the Nigerian state that will take place in the Niger Delta. There shall be no census observed too. Everybody will sit at home. No bullets. No fighting. We MUST revert to pre 1914 status.

    Our Mumu don do. How can you cite NNPC headquarters, corporate offices and Refineries outside the Niger Delta thus robbing our peoples of employment opportunities? How can the Richest man and Woman in Nigeria be aliens who control our oil blocks illegally acquired through their kinsmen in presidency while the owners are left with pollution everywhere?
    Otile

  • Dele Ajibade C.

    DEAR EDITOR,

    Notice of intention to sue Premium Times

    I have nothing for or against former Senator Herman Hembe because I have never met him and I don’t know him.
    He should do as the Supreme Court has ordered and pay 25 months salaries back to the National Assembly now.
    He should also refund all his transport, housing, tour and travel plus constituency project allowances, as ordered.
    Next time he will not jump the gun and consider himself smart to displace a properly nominated candidate by stealth.

    What concerns me more is the behaviour of Premium Times people, the way they are pretending as if Buhari is okay.
    No single news about whether Buhari is in coma or has become senile at last, since Buhari traveled for his treatment.
    Many people are now suspecting that Muhamadu Buhari is the real publisher of Premium Times for this concealment.
    If Buhari is not the real publisher why is Premium Times hiding the news about Buhari? Why is all this hanky-panky?

    My constitutional right is with me. Premium Times cannot take it from me. The Constitution has given me my civil rights.
    It is my right to be informed. Premium Times is violating my right to be informed if Buhari is not talking any sense again.
    I voted for Buhari and therefore I must know everything that happens to him so that I can learn my lesson how to vote.
    For violating my civil rights, I shall hire Mike Ozekhome to help me sue at a Customary Court against Premium Times.
    I cannot afford High Court because Buhari/Osinbajo government has destroyed my life with devaluation and inflation.

    • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

      Ol’ boy, please take or change your medication o. Lol

    • OGK

      Obviously, Ozekhome is the ready choice. You aren’t better than Fayose, Dino et al. If Satan gives Ozejhome millions, the Etsako man would defend him : law without conscience and mortality

      • Osakue

        A corrupt office holder is a servant of the devil so Ozekhome is already working for Satan

    • Wale Osogbo

      Since you already know that President Buhari is in coma, why not go ahead to produce the evidence for all to see. Any type of journalism that serves your information needs with mere assertions that you cannot VERIFY or they cannot help you verify has just taken you for a ride. Wake up Dele, your mumu too much!

  • Dike offor

    Now we keep talking about youth in governance…the few youth hasn’t been so clean from corruption…check age from 42 to 55 years of age that are in government ,what do you see?

  • Gerald Okoduwa

    When will criminals cease representing Nigerians in an otherwise honourable capacity? This boy is not different from kidnappers and armed robbers even from his facial aura. What quality of law can come out of characters like this who are so many at the National Assembly? He should refund all his loot or go to jail.

  • Otile

    Death has robbed Nigeria of justice. If Imam Abu Qaqa was alive today this would not happen.

    • Massob & IPOB

      Muhamadu Buhari, Raji Fashola, and, the IGBO people

      “The truth is that in the 2016 Budget, N12 billion was
      appropriated for the 2nd Niger Bridge but not a kobo was spent by the Power,
      Works and Housing Ministry under Raji Fashola. The Ministry could not provide
      the Committees of the National Assembly with evidence of an agreement on the
      Public Private Partnership (PPP); or, a contract for the 2nd Niger Bridge. The
      funds that were allocated for the 2nd Niger Bridge in 2016 were just returned
      untouched at the end of the year,”

      ………House of Representatives Press Statement

      (June 24th, 2017)

  • Godwin Orjime

    you have reported his controversies but have not reported how he was not the really winner of the APC nomination.didn’t the supreme court tell u that? we need to know these things,we’re not just crazy for headlines.has he removal freed him from illegal activities in the house? we need to know more of this case.