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Monday, July 12, 2010

Nigerian MPs Trade Blow‚ Over Speaker's Graft Charges

Lawmakers exchanged blows in the Nigerian parliament  Tuesday over an attempt to discuss graft allegations against the Speaker of Parliament, Dimeji Bankole.

Local television footage showed rival lawmakers at one another throats during the brawl in the 360-strong Parliament.

One was left stripped of his clothes in the chaos after he refused to vacate the chambers following his suspension from the Parliament by a resolution of the house.

He was allegedly found in possession of a teargas cannister.

Another had his hand twisted and dislocated after he tried to use pepper spray on a fellow deputy, a local journalist said.

The fracas was triggered by a resolution to suspend 11 lawmakers for allegedly breaching house rules in their attempts to have the speaker probed for suspected corruption charges.

Lawmaker Farouk Lawan said it was "a very bad day for members of the house".

A group of parliamentarians have accused the speaker of misappropriating $60 millon of public funds between 2008 and 2009.
The country's anti-graft police has said it will investigate the allegations.

In 2007, the lawmakers also fought as the then assembly speaker Patricia Etteh was about to give evidence on millions of dollars (euros) used to renovate her official home.

Etteh subsequently resigned and was replaced by Bankole. — AFP

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