…At no time did senate receive petition against Lamorde in plenary, Lawan group
By Nuel Suji, Abuja.
The Nigerian senate is sharply divided over the ongoing investigation of the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Lamorde by its committee on Public Petition, with a group dismissing the exercise illegal.
The group, Unity Forum Senators, loyal to Senator Ahmed Lawan said that probing the EFCC chairman is a breach of the Senate Standing Rules.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the group pointed out that “In a standard parliamentary practice, a petition is routed through either a senator or a member of the House of Representatives. Upon receipt of such petition, the representatives will inform the presiding officer of the chamber and, thereafter, present the petition in the plenary”.
The statement jointly signed by Senators George Akume, Abu Ibrahim, Barnabas Gemade and Ahmad Lawan, the group observed further that “Upon presentation in plenary, the presiding officer will invite the senator / House of Representatives. To lay same the petition on the Table in the chamber which, automatically becomes public document.
“Thereafter, the presiding officer will refer the petition to appropriate committee for consideration upon which it would be returned to the Senate plenary.
“In this regard, nothing of the sort happened. Senate proceeded on recess on August 13 and it is not on record that petition of Mr. George Uboh, accusing Lamorde of diverting over N1 trillion recovered from some corrupt Nigerians, including former governor of Bayelsa state, DSP Alamieyesigha, the former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun was presented to Senate in Plenary.
“The Senate Unity Forum do support the position earlier adopted by some of our colleagues that the Lamorde probe should be halted as it did not follow due parliamentary process.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Rule 41(1-3 of the Senate Standing Orders specifically spell out how petitions are handled in the parliament.
“Rule 41(1-3) states :(1) A petition may only be presented to the Senate by a Senator, who shall affix his name at the beginning thereof.
“(2) A senator presenting a petition shall confine himself to a brief statement of the parties from whom it came, the number of signatures attached to it and material allegations contained in it and to reading the prayers of such petitions.
“(3) All petitions shall be ordered, without question being put, to lie upon the Table. Such petition shall be referred to the Public Petition Committee.
“It is after these steps have taken that presiding officer would refer the petition to the afore-mentioned Committee.
“it should be noted that , in this case, none of the laid-down procedure was followed before” Senate Unity Forum” read in the newspapers that the Senator Samuel Anywanu -led Ethics Privileges and Public Petitions Committee would on Wednesday, August 26, today commence probe of EFC chairman
“We stand against this probe. It is illegal and unconstitutional because it did not conform with the standing order”.