The Senate has received a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari, explaining why he did not act on the recommendations of the Senate on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.
Recall that the Senate had indicted Lawal of complicity in a dubious contract awarded for the “removal of invasive plant species” in an Internally Displaced Persons camp in the North East.
The contract was allegedly awarded by the Presidential Initiative on the North East, PINE, to a company where SGF Lawal was believed to have vested interest.
Following the discovery made by a Senate ad-hoc committee headed by Shehu Sani, a Kaduna State lawmaker, the Senate sent a letter to the Presidency recommending Lawal’s removal from office and demanding that he be investigated and prosecuted in line with the laws of the country.
However, President Buhari’s reply which was read by Senate President Bukola Saraki during Tuesday’s plenary, states that only 3 out of the 9 members of the ad-hoc committee signed the report, thus making it a “minority report.”
The letter also claimed that the accused person, Lawal, was not given an opportunity to defend himself before the committee. Also, the company to which the said contract was awarded, was not invited.
Based on these reasons, the Presidency said it will not accede to the Senate’s recommendation of sacking the SGF.
Reacting to the letter, Shehu Sani, chairman of the ad-hoc committee that investigated the SGF, raised a point of order, saying that everything in the President’s letter “is a lie.”
Sani said that the SGF was invited before the committee and his secretary received the letter and acknowledged receipt.
He also stated that three adverts appeared in three different newspapers where Lawal and others connected to the issue were also invited.
The lawmaker promised to make available a copy of the invitation letter extended to the SGF through the clerk of the Senate.
Sani said it was disappointing that “Corruption in the Judiciary and others is treated with Insecticide while corruption in the executive arm of government is treated with deodorant.”