Summons over grass cutting contract: I won’t appear before you, SGF tells Senate

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By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – SECRETARY to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, yesterday, told the Senate he would not honour the invitation by the Ad Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East, since he had gone to court to challenge it.

Babachir David Lawal

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 would not, therefore, honour the invitation.

Recall that the Senate Committee had, Tuesday, issued a fresh summons on the SGF 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.

However, in separate letters dated March 22, addressed to the committee through its Chairman, Senator Shehu Sani, yesterday, explained their positions.

Lawal said in the letter: “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 it primarily because I have gone to court to challenge the invitation, among others.”

However, contacted, Senator Sani said in spite of the letters hinting of their decision not to appear before his committee, the committee’s report on the subject matter would be treated at plenary today.

According to an 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 read: “The Senate, at its sitting on October 4, 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 how these funds have been utilised 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.

“The committee held a three-day public hearing between December 6 and 8, 2016, even though some of the invited stakeholders refused to attend.”

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