Withdraws his earlier position that he has gone to court to challenge invitation
By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-SECRETARY to the Government of the Federation, David Babachir Lawal, on Thursday made a U- turn regarding the invitation by the Senate that he should appear before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East.
Rather than his Wednesday’s position and letter to the Senate that he was not going it appear before the Senator Shehu Sani, APC, Kaduna Central led Ad- hoc Committee because he had gone to court to challenge the invitation, Lawal is saying today that he cannot come today because he has a pressing government engagement.
In a letter dated 23rd , March, 2017 and addressed to the Chairman, Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East, and titled, ” Re: Invitation for Public Hearing” the SGF who personally signed the letter, said, ” 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 of a pressing engagement of Government which clashed with the date and time of the hearing.
” I kindly request a rescheduling of the hearing, please.
“Please, accept my highest regards. ”
David Babachir Lawal, had on Wednesday told the Senate that he would not honour the invitation extended to him by the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East,because he had gone to court to challenge the invitation.
Also, the Managing Director of Lawal’s company, Rholavision Engineering Company, also wrote to the Senate hinting that he had approached the court to challenge the invitation given him and so, would not honour the invitation.
Recall that the Senate Committee had Tuesday, issued a fresh summon on both the SGF,Mr Babachir Lawal and his company’s MD, as part of the ongoing investigation into claims that funds earmarked for humanitarian crisis in the North-East were mismanaged.
But in separate letters dated March 22nd, 2017,addressed to the Committee through its Chairman, Senator Shehu Sani, Wednesday, both said they would not appear before the committee, explaining that they had already gone to court to challenge the committee’s invitation to them to appear before it.
Lawal on the letter to Senator Sani had said, “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 court to challenge the invitation among others.”
According to the earlier letter from the committee inviting the duo, they were expected to appear as part of the ongoing investigation into claims that funds earmarked for humanitarian crisis in the North-East were mismanaged.
The letter had read: “The Senate at its sitting on 4th October, 2016, debated on a motion “mounting humanitarian crisis in the north east” after which an ad-hoc committee was constituted.
“The committee was to conduct a public hearing in order to ascertain how much has been released to the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) and also to ascertain how these funds have been utilized from inception to date.
“The committee was also expected to investigate the diversion of grains and other food items from the Strategic Grain Reserves, NEMA and other sources for the IDPs.
“Consequently, the committee held a three day public hearing between Dec. 6th and 8th 2016, even though some of the invited stakeholders refused to attend.