Outspoken Kaduna Central Senator, Shehu Sani, has dismissed as “false” President Muhammadu Buhari’s claims on a Senate report indicting the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, of corruption.
Speaking at the Senate on Tuesday after Senate President Bukola Saraki read Mr. Buhari’s letter absolving Mr. Lawal of fraud, Mr. Sani suggested the president’s defense smacked of double standards.
Mr. Buhari had written the Senate, reacting to its demand for the sack and prosecution of Mr. Lawal, whom the Senate accused of breaching federal law in the handling of ‘grass cutting contract awarded by the Presidential Initiative on North East, PINE.
The president in his letter said he could not act as demanded by the Senate because the report of the Senate Ad hoc committee on “Mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East” was signed by three of nine members of the committee.
He also said the SGF was not given fair hearing to defend himself, as he was allegedly not invited by the committee before the indictment.
Mr. Sani chaired the ad hoc committee and presented its interim report last December.
No sooner had Mr. Saraki finished reading the president’s letter than Mr. Sani rose to disprove Mr. Buhari’s claims.
He said seven members, not three as claimed by the president, signed the report.
He also said that Mr. Lawal was invited to appear before the hearing of the committee, adding the the SGF’s office secretary received and acknowledged the invitation.
Further, Mr. Sani said advert was placed in three newspapers for Mr. Lawal and other parties involved to appear.
“Corruption in the Judiciary and others is treated with insecticide while corruption in the government is treated with deodorant,” said Mr. Sani, expressing worry that Mr. Buhari’s letter was full of misinformation and falsehood.
Mr. Sani said he would provide evidence that Mr. Lawal was invited to the Senate through the clerk.
Later, the spokesperson for the Senate, Aliyu Abdullahi, told journalists the Senate stood by the report of the Shehu Sani committee.