Saraki Lacks Moral, Constitutional Rights To Summon Perm Sec, Says Sen. Marafa

President of the Senate and Chairman of National Assembly
President of the Senate
President of the Senate

By Nuel Suji, Abuja.

The Senator representing Zamfara Central Senatorial District, Kabir Marafa, said on Sunday that the Senate President lacked both moral and constitutional rights to summon the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, for briefing on the state of the economy.

Marafa, the spokesperson for the Senate Unity Forum,  who stated this in a statement issued in Abuja, noted that since Saraki had allegedly violated some sections of the constitution to emerge as senate president on June 9, he cannot accuse another person of committing the same offence he had committed.

Our correspondent had reported that the decision of the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance and other top officials to decline an invitation extended to them by the leadership of the National Assembly for a briefing on the state of the nation’s economy last week was currently brewing a major face-off between the two arms of government.

Our correspondent had also reported that the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Senator Issa Galaudu,  and the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, wrote separate letters to the permanent secretary but were both allegedly ignored.

The permanent secretary, according to sources close to the leadership of the Senate, was said to have shunned the meeting because there was no clearance from the Presidency to honour the briefing.

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, which also insisted on the importance of the meeting, was written by the Chief of Staff to the Senate President. Galaudu’s letter, which was dated July 8, with reference number, NASS /8 th /S/SP/COS/CORRP/15/2/07, states,  ‘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.”

Investigations by our correspondent further revealed that the the Permanent Secretary had yet to appear before the senate leadership nor responded to the letters from both the National Assembly management and the office of the Senate President.

But 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,  infact, not only violated the constitution to ascend to the Senate leadership, they murdered it !”