SGF says he won’t honour Senate’s invitation

Abuja, March 23, 2017(TNE): Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Lawal Babachir, says he will not honour the Senate’s invitation on Thursday over the handling of funds for North-East rehabilitation.

Already, he has headed to the court to challenge the propriety of the invitation and his being investigated on the issue, he said in a letter to the Senate.

An ad hoc Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East investigating allegations of misappropriation of funds for rehabilitation of the region had invited the SGF to a public hearing on the issue.

The invitation was dated March 15 and it asked the SGF to appear on Thursday.

The SGF was formally invited after his indictment by the committee at the first public hearing on the matter, for which the presidency had said that he (SGF) was not given a fair hearing.

In the letter to Babachir, the committee had indicated that the essence of the second public hearing was another opportunity of fair hearing for stakeholders who refused to attend the first hearing.

However, in a letter to the Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Sen. Shehu Sani, in Abuja on Wednesday, the SGF said that rather than attend the hearing, he was challenging the invitation in the court.

The letter signed by the SGF read: “your letter of invitation to appear before the above committee refers.

“I wish to kindly request that you draw the attention of the other members of the committee that I will not be able to appear before the committee primarily because I have gone to court to challenge the invitation, among others.

“Please find attached the court documents.”

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, had on Jan. 24, 2017, read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari stating that the SGF was not given a fair hearing at first hearing.

Babachir was the second public officer to turn down Senate’s invitation within a week. The Customs’ Comptroller-General, retired Colonel Hamed Ali had earlier done so when he was asked to appear before the legislative house in Customs’ uniform.

A citizen went to court to challenge the legality of Senate’s  demand.(TNE)

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