…Remarks by SGF that MDAs may not implement constituency projects in 2016 Budget, and that National Confab was ‘job for the boys’ irk Senators ….Senate draws ‘sword of Damocles’ against Presidency, says won’t allow any political appointee take chamber for a ride ….Having failed to honour two previous summons, Senate gives AGF ‘last chance’ to appear by Friday, else it’ll exercise it powers The Senate on Tuesday adopted a no nonsense posture over its stand-off with the executive arm of government as it summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal to appear before it over alleged offensive remarks. The Senate also threatened to issue a warrant of arrest to compel the appearance before it of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami. Malami had three times discountenanced the Summons by the Senate on his resolve to file a suit against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu alongside two others on alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Orders. The Attorney General had explained that his appearance before the Senate was unnecessary, on the basis that the issue for which he was being summoned was already in a court of law, just as he urged the leadership of the Senate named in acts of forgery of Senate documents to proceed to the Court to prove their innocence. The angry Senate resolved to summon the SGF based on adoption of to a motion moved by Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South) which agreed that he is to appear before the Senate Committees on Ethics, Finance and Appropriation for explanation on recent remark made by him that constituency projects would not be implementable in the 2016 budget. Urhoghide in the motion, drew the attention of the Senate to a publication of Daily Trust Newspaper dated June 28, 2016 where the SGF among others, declared that the constituency projects in the 2016 budgets would not be implemented by the relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies of Government ( MDAs), due to paucity of funds. He wondered why the SGF would single out constituency projects meant for the National Assembly which is less than 1% of the entire N6.6trillion budget. According to him, the Executive arm of government, has severally gone against the laid down provisions of the constitution regarding budgetary procedures, a development he noted, constitute an impeachable offence. Urhoghide said shortly after the 2016 budget was published, he gave account of his one year in the National Assembly and enumerated the constituency project which made his constituents happy. He said with the SGF’s comment, the hope of his constituents has been dashed on expectations over constituency projects he had briefed them about. “I want to say that according to the budget as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari, the zonal intervention is about N60 billion. “On the basis of this, for the SGF to say that the projects will not be implemented calls for worry,” he said. He, therefore, warned that going ahead with the non-implementation of constituency project as indicated by the SGF would leave the Senate with no alternative but draw the sword of Damocles against the presidency. Babachir had in the interview said: “The government might find it very difficult to implement the constituency projects to the letter because MDAs might not find constituency projects as critical to the execution of their mandates and given the dwindling resources, these could be some of the areas that would suffer during implementation”. Senator Abiodun Olujimi ( PDP Ekiti South) , who seconded the motion, reminded the senate of the SGF’s alleged disparaging remarks on those who participated in the 2014 National Confab and the conference reports in the same interview. According to her, Babachir in the interview described the Confab reports as non-critical in any way to the present government , being more or less, a job given to the boys by the immediate past administration. She said the Senate should not allow any appointee of the Executive arm of government to ridicule it in anyway, saying ‘ “we should not allow any political appointee to take this chamber for a ride”. The Senate President , Bukola Saraki in his ruling, amended the motion by assigning senate committees on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions in collaboration with Finance and Appropriation to summon the SGF for appearance before them this week over the alleged offensive remarks. The Attorney General on his own is to appear before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters unfailingly by Friday this week , having failed to honour two previous summons issued him by the committee. This was sequel to a report submitted to the senate by the committee’s chairman, David Umoru ( APC, Niger East), declaring that Malami has not honored any of the invitations extended to him by the committee since last month, when Senate through resolution called for explanations from him, over forgery case against Saraki and others. Ruling on the report, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki threatened that if the AGF failed to appear before the committee this week, the senate would have no other option than to exercise its constitutional powers in making him to appear. He said: “We all heard the explanation of the chairman on Judiciary, and what he is trying to get across to us here is to tell us the status of the situation because what we have been reading in the papers was of great concern where the number one judicial officer of the country will be the one that will be flouting the Constitution. Because 89 (c) is very clear. “But it appears from what had been presented that the Attorney General is requesting for one more chance to be given to appear before you. “And I think as a Senate, it is always in the progress of development. And as such, we will do that and ensure that he does come this time, otherwise we will have no choice than to follow the constitution strictly. So, you will report back to us before the end of the week to let us know the status of that situation. And if that does not happen, we will go ahead and go in line with the Constitution very clearly”.]]>

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