By Nuel Suji, Abuja
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, is brewing a major face-off between the two arms of government.
It was gathered 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 which 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.