Babachir David Lawal
By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—SENATE President, Dr Bukola Saraki, yesterday, told President Muhammadu Buhari that the world was watching him on how he would handle the Senate’s Wednesday’s resolution calling for the sack of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Babachir Lawal, for allegedly soiling his hands in corrupt practices.
This came as the Senate resolved to probe Lawal’s alleged uncharitable outburst against its decision that he be sacked by the President for allegedly contravening the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and the Federal Government Financial Rules and Regulations on the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on North-East.
Saraki’s statement came as senators, yesterday, insisted that Lawal must be sacked by President Buhari for engaging in alleged corrupt practice.
Saraki said the ongoing war against corruption in the country by the president must not have limit if the country must be put on path of sanity.
Saraki wondered why an appointee of the President would be rude to the Senate at a time his principal was seeking the hand of the legislature in fellowship in the interest of national development.
“The President (Buhari) came here yesterday (Wednesday) humbly telling us that he seeks our partnership. Then how can his Secretary (to the Government of the Federation) said we are talking rubbish,” he said.
The decision of the Senate to probe Lawal’s comments against it followed the adoption of a motion on a Point of Order raised by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), under matters of personal privileges, based on the Senate Standing Orders.
Melaye said his concern emanated from headlines of some of national dailies and online platforms, which reported Lawal’s reaction, describing senators as “talking rubbish,” noting that it was highly unbecoming and unacceptable.
The Senate had on Wednesday called on the SGF to resign his position for contravening the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and the Federal Government Financial Rules and Regulations on the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on North-East.
But Babachir in his reaction to the senate’s decision said the whole action was nothing but balderdash and a calculated attempt to pull him down.
Reacting to the SGF’s alleged outburst, the Senate, during the day’s plenary, described as unbecoming of a public officer of the SGF’s status, who according to the upper legislative chamber, has been notorious for such outbursts in public.
It consequently ordered its Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions to investigate the derogatory comments against the institution of the Senate credited to the embattled SGF.
Speaking further on the matter, Saraki said: “The issue here is very serious because it borders on the integrity of this institution. Matters as serious as this should never be personalised.
“Yesterday, when we heard the president, the number one citizen of this country humbly telling us he is seeking cooperation of the National Assembly, and how can his Secretary tell us we are talking rubbish.
“The two conversations are not on the same page. We must protect this institution and it is not the kind of language and it is out of order if somebody has been accused
of something, the way we should respond, and for him to say we are speaking rubbish, I think he is personslising the issues.”