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Sagay Panics, Asks Senate To Withdraw His Summon ‎‎[Update]

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof Itse Sagay has asked the Senate to withdraw the resolution summoning him.

The Senate had, penultimate week, summoned Prof Sagay over some comments he made castigating some lawmakers.

In response, the learned Professor had retorted that he won’t honour the summon saying that the Senate has no power to summon him.

Also, in a letter to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, dated April 3, Sagay said he would sue the upper chamber if the invitation is not withdrawn.

Further, Sagay on Tuesday, asked the Senate to withdraw the resolution summoning him over his comments.

The Senators resolved to summon Sagay to appear before its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to explain why he described them as “childish and irresponsible”.

The comment had stemmed from Senate’s demand to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to sack the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

The PACAC chairman said his criticism was anchored on Section 171(1) of the Constitution which has empowered the President to appoint any person to hold or act as head of any extra-ministerial department.

Sagay said though he has not been served with any summons, he deemed it fit to join issues with the Senate over the threatened violation of his fundamental rights to freedom of expression.

The rights, he said, were guaranteed by Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

According to Sagay, Section 88 of the Constitution under which the Senate purportedly summoned him is subject to other provisions of the Constitution, including Section 39, which guarantees freedom of expression.

Sagay said the Senate’s power to conduct enquiries “is not at large.”

“The powers conferred on the National Assembly under the provision of this section (88) are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to – (a) make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and (b) expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.

“From the foregoing, you will agree with me that the enormous investigative powers of the National Assembly are circumscribed as they are exercisable subject to other provisions of the Constitution,” Sagay said.

Earlier on Monday, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) also called on the leadership of the Senate to “immediately withdraw the unwarranted and unconstitutional summon on Sagay.

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