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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 17:39 GMT
Nigeria speaker goes in graft row
Anti-Etteh demo in Abuja on 30 October 2007
Protestors marched outside parliament in Abuja
The speaker of Nigeria's House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, has resigned after weeks of pressure.

An inquiry found her guilty of breaking house rules in awarding contracts worth $5m to refurbish houses and buy cars.

But she had repeatedly refused to step aside and allow a temporary speaker to chair a debate into the findings.

Parliamentary business, including a debate on Nigeria's budget, has been held up for weeks as a result of the affair that has gripped the nation.

The affair has become a major embarrassment for President Umaru Yar'Adua who promised zero tolerance on corruption but failed to intervene, despite increasingly angry protests.

Heated

Mrs Etteh, a former beautician and ruling party member, is accused of irregularities in spending $5m of government money to buy 12 cars and renovate two official residences - her own and that of a deputy.

PATRICIA OLUBUNMI ETTEH
Patricia Etteh
Yoruba, born August 1953
Hairdresser and beautician
University of Abuja law diploma
AD MP since 1999
Switched to PDP in 2003

She had consistently denied any wrongdoing but opponents argued forcibly that she should step aside temporarily to allow someone else to chair the debate into the findings of the panel of inquiry, chaired by David Idoko.

The row became so heated that a brawl broke out in parliament earlier this month, during which one pro-Etteh MP collapsed and died.

Mrs Etteh's aides told the BBC that the speaker had decided that she could no longer continue and that her deputy, Babangida Nguroje, has also resigned.

The lower house elected Terngu Tsegba, an opposition politician from central Benue State, as the acting speaker.

Mr Tsegba will now preside over the Idoko debate, which is expected to take up to a week.

Parliament will then have to elect a permanent replacement to Mrs Etteh.

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