The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee in opposition to Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has written to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, over plans via the Senate to invite him.
Sagay, a former Dean of the college of legislation, college of Benin and Obafemi Awolowo college, Ile-Ife, entreated the Senate to shelve any plans to invite him, pronouncing he would be forced to take criminal motion if the upper legislative chamber didn’t backpedal.
The Senate had, last week, proposed to ask Sagay over the feedback he made all through an interview with The PUNCH by which he described senators as infantile and irresponsible for refusing to display 27 Resident Electoral Commissioners as a result of President Muhammadu Buhari had failed to sack the acting Chairman of the economic and financial Crimes commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The Senate described Sagay’s feedback as condemnable and due to this fact referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges for additional motion.
however, in a letter titled ‘Re: decision summoning me to seem prior to the Senate’ and addressed to the Senate President, Sagay maintained that the Senate lacked the authority to summon him.
The senior recommend stated he has the suitable to freedom of expression and any try by means of the Senate to summon him could be an infringement of his rights.
The letter read partially, “My attention has been drawn to the neatly publicised resolution of the Senate, summoning me to appear sooner than it to justify my criticism of the unlawful call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the EFCC.
“My criticism used to be anchored on section 171(1) of the constitution, which has empowered the President to appoint anyone to carry or act within the place of work of the head of any further-ministerial department of the Federal government.
“even if i have now not been served with any summons from the Senate, I deem it match to take difficulty with contributors of the Senate over the threatened violation of my basic right to freedom of expression assured via part 39 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 9 of the African constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) rules of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
He stated section 88 of the 1999 constitution handiest empowers the national assembly to summon individuals whereas conducting investigation into the affairs of the Federal govt so as to promoting excellent governance and curbing corruption or whereas making laws.
“then again, the ability to habits enquiries isn’t at massive. consequently, through advantage of section 88 (1) & (2) of the 1999 structure the nationwide meeting shall have power to direct or cause to be directed investigation into the behavior of somebody, authority, ministry or agency of the Federal government subject to the provisions of the structure,” Sagay said.
The PACAC chairman stated three cases that had been settled in court docket as regards the power of the national assembly to summon individuals.
He noted that part eighty two of the 1979 structure is in “pari materia with section 88 of the 1999 structure”.
whereas citing Mallam Nasir El-Rufai vs the house of Representatives, nationwide meeting of the Federal Republic of Nigeria & Ors. (2003) 46 WRN 70, Sagay mentioned that the court docket of appeal subjected part 88 of the 1999 structure to a critical judicial interpretation.
Sagay recalled that Justice George Oguntade, who was once on the time, a Justice of the court of attraction, read the lead judgment.
The judgment learn partially, “The an important question that follows is this: when the 1st defendant (house of Representatives) sent the letter of 20/three/2002 to the Plaintiff (el-Rufai) to appear earlier than its Ethics and Privileges Committee, was it engaged within the making of a law within its legislative competence or to show corruption and inefficiency in a public division?
“certainly, the answer is within the negative. it is obvious that the 1st plaintiff was once intent on taking additional steps following its antecedent choice. That this was once the intention of the first defendant, which is made clear with the aid of the hole paragraph of the letter which mentioned that the plaintiff had published defamatory issues regarding it.”
The senior advocate mentioned that participants of the Senate, who have been appalled with the aid of his interview in The PUNCH, could sue him for defamation but anything on the contrary could be in breach of the legislation.
Sagay said, “applying the theory of law, enunciated within the above cited instances, i’m fortified in my submission that the Senate lacks the constitutional energy to summon me to justify my condemnation of the illegal actions of its individuals.
“The Senate cannot be accuser, prosecutor and judge in its own case. however, any aggrieved member of the Senate has the liberty to sue me for defamation in a competent court docket of jurisdiction.
“because of this, i urge you to withdraw the decision summoning me to appear sooner than the Senate. for those who fail to accede to my request, i can’t hesitate to problem the criminal validity of the summons, once it is served on me.”