*Faults AGF’s refusal to honour Senate’s invitation, says Senate can summon the Minister

*As Enang clears air on plans to testify against Saraki, Ekweremadu, others

By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke, Abuja

SPECIAL assistant to the Senate president, Senator Ita Enang yesterday tendered an unreserved apology to the Senate over statements by a presidential aide, Okoi Obono- Oblo to the effect that the Senate lacked the powers to summon Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.

DOCKED: Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki (middle) and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu (left) at the Federal High Court, Jabi, Abuja over alleged forgery of Senate Rules, yesterday. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan.
DOCKED: Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki (middle) and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu (left) at the Federal High Court, Jabi, Abuja over alleged forgery of Senate Rules, yesterday. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan.

Enang stressed during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja yesterday that the AGF as an appointee of the President, was answerable to the Senate, just as he said that the statement ought not to have been made in the first place.

Enang during the session also explained that his enlistment as a prosecution witness in the prosecution of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu was mainly on account of testimony he deposed to the police before his appointment as a presidential aide.

The testimony, he further said, was mainly because of his position as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business in the preceding Senate.

Special Assistant to the President on Public Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Oblo who appeared before the Senator David Umaru-led Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters had lampooned the Senate last Thursday saying that the red chambers lacked the powers to summon the Minister of Justice over the ongoing prosecution of the two presiding officers of the Senate.

Senator Enang
Senator Enang

Addressing journalists yesterday, Enang said that there was no way the Attorney General of the Federation will not respect senators because the lawmakers screened and cleared the ministers as ministerial nominees.

Senator Enang, who said the AGF was currently indisposed promised that he would honour the invitation of the Senate when available.

He said: “I heard the statements after and I want to apologise to the Distinguished Senate, to the Committee on Judiciary and the distinguished senators because that statement ought not to have been made. And the Attorney General is Attorney General of the Federation, appointed by Mr. President, cleared by the Senate and responsible for the federation.

“We will handle this matter, but I first have to tender my unreserved apology for the impression it may have created to the distinguished Senate, Senators and the Committee members.

“The Attorney General spoke with me yesterday on the matter in the morning that he is on official assignment on behalf of the country. When he is in, we will make arrangement for him to respond appropriately. We want to apologise pending when he is back to respond appropriately. I am sorry about that statement that was made. I apologize to the Senate. The Attorney-General of the Federation was appointed by the President, and he is, therefore, answerable to the Senate.”

Speaking further Senator Enang denied insinuations that aides of the President have been lined up to testify against Saraki and Ekweremadu in their trial over the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rules, 2015.

Senator Enang, who noted that the last and only time he made a statement with regard to the Standing Order was on July 1, 2015, when he was invited as a ‘ suspect’ by the Police well before his appointment as a presidential aide.

He said, “Further to false publications and insinuations that Presidential Aides have been Iined up against the presiding officers of the Senate and others in the prosecution relating to the Standing Orders of the Senate 2015 citing me as one of those thus lined up, l hereby state as hereunder;

“That this is false in all material particular.

“That I was the chairman of the RULES AND BUSINESS COMMITTEE of the 7th Senate which ended plenary on June 4, 2015, and the 8th Senate was inaugurated on June 9, 2015.

“That upon a written petition to the police on the subject of alleged forgery of the STANDING Orders by some Distinguished Senators of the 8th Senate the lnspector General of Police through one DIG Dan Azumi J. Doma wrote to the Clerk of the National Assembly vide his letter dated July 1, 2015, requestinq him to ask the under mentioned key officials of the 7th SENATE to have an audience with the under signed on or before 6th July 2015;

“Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Majority Leader of the Senate, Clerk of the National Assembly, Clerk of Senate, CHAIRMAN‚BUSINESS AND RULES COMMITTEE, Secretary, Business, and Rules Committee.

“Further to the above, l, on July 3rd, 2015 met with the police who confronted me with allegation that I am suspected to have Amended or printed the Standing Orders in issue being the Chairman of Rules and Business committee of the 7th Senate. l was asked to make a written statement on the matter, and I did on the said July 3rd, 2015 denying the allegation.

“That it was from the statement of other persons of interest, after my statement that the police may have formed an opinion as to who did what, exonerating me, but rather listed me as a witness as to the procedure for amendment, having made a statement on the matter.

“That all these course of events occurred prior to and independent of my appointment as SSA to the President in late AUGUST 2015.

“That l am not mentioned in the process as an aide in the presidency as wrongly misrepresented but as former chair of RULES AND BUSINESS COMMITTEE of the defunct 7th Senate.

“That l have not made any other statement in this matter subsequent to that made on July on 3, 2015.”
It would be recalled that Senator Enang, alongside others, has been named as key witnesses to testify against Saraki, Ekweremadu, and two others.

Others on list of witnesses expected to testify against Saraki and Ekweremadu include Senator Sulaiman Hunkuyi, APC, Kaduna North; Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central); Senator Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe North); Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice (APC, Ondo North) and Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina South).

Others are Senator Solomon Ewuga, Senator Ojudu Babafemi, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Dan’Azumi J. Doma and a police investigator, David Igbodo.

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