The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu had some explanation to do today before the Joint Committees of Information Technology Communication (ICT), over a comment he made on the suspension of the Director – General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Peter Jack over an alleged misconduct.
The Minister, who appeared before the Joint Committees of ICT, provided some dramatic elements into his appearance when he feigned ignorance of why he was before the committee, saying, “I do not know the reason why I am before this committee, I am blank about this meeting”.
He said: “My name is Abdulraheem Adebayo Shittu. I’m here almost blank as to why I’m here. I don’t have information why I was asked to come. And I’m hoping that members will tell me. As I speak, there’s a conference at Transcorp where I’m to represent Nigeria in the midst of many international bodies and foreign players”.
“I also have another meeting with Mr President and some foreign investors. And as you all know, Nigeria lacks the necessary capacity to fund investment in the ICT sector, so I’m appealing that I have all the questions so I can go and look at them, get necessary information and provide answers as appropriately on another date”, he said.
His excuses and comments irked members of the committee who told him that he erred by saying he was blank on a meeting that was properly communicated to his ministry.
Chairman of the Committee on ICT, Mohammed Onawo however explained to him that, “this committee is mandated by the House to look into the perceived injustice done to the DG of NITDA”.
He added that the clerk of the committee had told him that the letter was personally handed over to him.
On the allegation that he was not informed of the reason why he came, the co-chairman of the committee, Hon, Saheed Akinade Fijabi from Oyo reminded the minister while displaying a letter sent to his office which was received and duly acknowledged with a copy of it sent back to the Committee.
However, the Minister backpedaled, realising the full weight of his indiscretion, admitted receiving the letter of invitation, saying: “I want to apologise for any misconception. A letter was brought to my office yesterday with a heading relating to the suspension of the DG NITDA. And I liaise with my Permanent Secretary to get back to the committee Clerk so as to work out the possibility of re-adjusting the date – given the number of engagements I’m to have with the several groups on behalf of the President.”
He was, however, pardoned to allow him meet with other appointments.
Hearing on the matter was adjourned to a later date yet to be announced.