Senators summon Sagay for describing legislators’ actions as childish, irresponsible …you have no powers to summon me – Sagay tells lawmakers

SenateThe Senate on Wednesday summoned the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay for describing the lawmakers’ actions as childish and irresponsible. The Senate on Wednesday resolved that Professor Sagay should appear before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, led by Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East to clear himself of the allegation and explain why he must insult the Senate as an Institution. The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate. The statements credited to Professor Sagay came barely twenty four hours after the Senate suspended for two weeks, the screening of 27 persons President Muhammadu Buhari nominated for the office of Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECS. The resolution of the Senate was sequel to a point of Order by the Deputy Senate leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah who directed the attention of the Senate to the publication of Punch and titled, ” Sagay, Others Kick as Senate Puts off RECS confirmation over Magu. Reading the paper at plenary, Senator Na’ Allah said, “But the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), described the Senate’s action, calling on Buhari to sack Magu in two weeks, as childish and irresponsible.” “Sagay told one of our correspondents in a telephone interview that the Senate was filled with people of questionable character, who put their personal interest ahead of that of the nation.” It would be recalled that the Senate had on Tuesday poised for a battle with the Presidency following the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to remove the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu who had twice been rejected. The Senate had wondered why Magu who was not confirmed was still at the helms of affairs at the EFCC as this however prompted the protest and the looming crisis between the executive and the legislature. The Senate was also not happy with the presidency over comments by the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay who was alleged to have described the exercise of the Senate in screening nominees of the Executive as mere confirmation. As part of moves to fight back, the Senate yesterday suspended for two weeks, confirmation hearings of the 27 Resident Electoral Commissioners, REC of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari and sent to the Senate for screening and subsequent confirmation. According to the Senators, the two weeks suspension became imperative against the backdrop that within that period, senate President Bukola Saraki would meet with the President and discuss the issues relating to Ibrahim Magu’s continued acting capacity as EFCC boss which the Senate considered as a complete affront on the institution and the lawmakers. Meanwhile, Prof. Sagay says the Senate lacks the power to summon him. He, therefore, lambasted the lawmakers for attempting to flex constitutional muscles which he said they did not possess. The law professor said the senators were ignorant of Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution. He said, “I am waiting for the Senate summons. In any case, they don’t have the remotest of powers or authority to summon me because their power to summon people is very limited if you look at Section 88 and Section 89 of the constitution. “I don’t fall under the category of people that they can summon. I am not operating any federal programme to which they have voted money. They are not investigating me based on anything for which they have voted money. So, there is nothing they can do about it. “I expressed my personal view and if you feel very strongly about it, you can go to court and sue for defamation. That is the best anybody can do but to say I should come before the Senate committee based on an accusation by the same Senate committee which is going to act as a judge in the same case? It will charge me and judge me? It is unconstitutional and illegal.”

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