*Says He Lacks Moral, Constitutional Powers To Do So
The tension between the Presidency and the Senate grew weekend as the opposition platform in the Senate carpets the Senate leadership for issuing summons to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance on appearance before it over the state of the Nigerian economy.
The Unity Forum through its spokesman, Senator Kabiru Marafa, (Zamfara Central Senatorial District) said the Senate Leadership lacked the moral and constitutional right to blame any official of government or agency for dismissing its summons.
Marafa in a statement on Sunday told the the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, that he lacked the authority to summon the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, for briefing on the state of the economy.
He alleged that Saraki, having violated some sections of the constitution to emerge as senate president on June 9, should never accuse anyone of committing the same offence he had committed.
The failure by Permanent Secretary and other top officials to honour an invitation extended to them by the leadership of the National Assembly on the state of the nation’s economy has worsened the stand-off between the Senate and the executive arm of government.
The Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Senator Issa Galaudu, and the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, had last week written separate letters summoning the permanent secretary, whereas he had ignored the two letters.
The permanent secretary is said to have shunned the meeting with the Senate leadership because he was not cleared by the Presidency to do so.
The Clerk’s letter, which was copied the Head of Service of the Federation and obtained by our correspondent read, “I refer to our letter Ref. No. NASS/S//SP/ COS/CORRP/15/1/06 of June 29, 2015 on the above subject matter and your text message of July 7, 2015, to the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, signifying your inability to honour the invitation.
“Your action is a deliberate violation of the provisions of Section 67(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999( as amended).
“You are, therefore, requested to appear before the Senate Leadership as contained in your aforementioned letter on Wednesday July 8, 2015 at 2.00pm prompt.
“The third letter to the Permanent Secretary, was written by the Chief of Staff to the Senate President.
The letter, dated July 8, with reference number, NASS /8 th /S/SP/COS/CORRP/15/2/07, read, ‘Please note that your text message of yesterday, Tuesday, July 7, 2015, which I received by hours of 20:02 pm, suggesting that you would not make today’s meeting, is unacceptable.’
“This is an affront to the President of the Senate and its leadership. The provision of Section 67(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), is very clear and unambiguous in this regard. Hence, you do not need the permission of any official before you attend or appear before the Senate.
“Consequently, I have the instructions of the President of the Senate and leadership that you do spear before them on the date and time earlier communicated to you, Wednesday, July 8, 2015 by 11am prompt. It is my belief that you will comply unconditionally.”
Till date, the Permanent Secretary has not appeared before the senate leadership nor responded to the letters from both the National Assembly management and the office of the Senate President.
However, Marafa, in his statement, accused Saraki of violating the same constitution, which he claimed the permanent secretary had run foul of.
The Senator said, “I read with open-mouth amazement, the letter written by both the Chief of Staff to the Senate President and that of the Clerk to the National Assembly on the refusal or inability of a government functionary to honour the invitation of the leadership of the senate.
“They were saying the refusal violates section 67(2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Can somebody please tell them that they are guilty of similar, if not higher, offence?
“They, in fact, not only violated the constitution to ascend to the Senate leadership, they murdered it