Monday, February 6, 2017 8:04 am
The Forum of Former North East National Paliarmentarians (FFNENP) has urged members of the National Assembly, especially the Senate to always carry out thorough investigation while performing their oversight functions.
The forum made the call in a statement signed by its Protem National President, Mr Hassan Jonga on Sunday in Abuja.
Jonga said that as former lawmakers, the forum believed the demand and insistence by the senate on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal to resign was not proper.
He said such action was not only “incongruous and mischievous but uncalled for”.
He said that they saw the demand as smokescreen aimed at a direct confrontation on Lawal and the President.
The senate ad hoc committee on mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East, headed by Sen. Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna), in its report submitted in December 2016 had called for immediate resignation of Lawal.
The call followed an allegation of a scam or impropriety it alleged the SGF committed by awarding to his company (Rholavision) a contract worth over N234million.
The committee said it discoverd this after investigations it carried on monies released to the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) headed by the SGF.
Jonga said available information revealed that the hoc committee did not extend an invitation to the SGF to appear before it to defend himself over the allegation.
He added that invitation was also not extended to the said company (Rholavision).
“The Senate is revered by many and we believe in its sanctity and anything that will bring its integrity low.
“We will not support least the decision of its ad hoc committee on mounting humanitarian crisis in the northeast headed by Sen Shehu Sani.
“We also call for restrain on anything that will further cause collateral damage to our collective psyche as a region.
“Our image and integrity should not be toyed around with in the name of fighting corruption where no trace is established.
“Personal scores should be settled between the individuals involved than to potray an entire region as incapable of holding the office of the SGF.”
Jonga added that if there wss any substantial case of scam against the SGF, his trial and conviction should be done in a transparent manner not skewed as to malign his integrity.
“As one time federal legislators, the ethics on parliamentary rules and procedures must be respected and any attempt to shave a man’s head in his absence has no place in our statute books.”
He commended President, Muhamadu Buhari for reposing confidence in Lawal as SGF.
He said that the President’s decision to set aside the senate demand was a reminder to the fact that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.
” President Muhamadu Buhari respectfully wrote to the senate on his position on its findings which we think should have ordinarily settled the matter.
“But he (Buhari) was painted as a liar which to our view is unparliamentary and we call for unreserved public apology from the senate to Mr. President.
“The senate ad hoc committee has the burden of integrity and morality on her shoulders.
“Sen Shehu Sani and his esteemed colleagues need to redefine what blackmail and honesty is all about.”
Jonga said that FFNENP members knew that resolutions derived from motions sponsored by any NASS member, have less influence on any decision of either the executive or judiciary.
“Only laws passed by both chambers can have such binding effect and not resolutions.”