*I will not be able to appear before the committee
By Sandra Oyekwere
Engineer Lawal Babachir, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said he would not honour Senate’s invitation against today over the handling of funds for North-East rehabilitation.
This is because he has headed to the court to challenge the propriety of the invitation and his being investigated on the issue. An ad hoc Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East investigating allegations of misappropriation of funds for rehabilitation of the region had invited the SGF to a public hearing on the issue.
The invitation was dated 15th March and it asked the SGF to appear on Thursday. The SGF was formally invited after his indictment by the committee at the first public hearing on the matter, for which the presidency had said that he (SGF) was not given fair hearing.
In the letter to him, the committee had indicated that the essence of the second public hearing was another opportunity of fair hearing for stakeholders who refused to attend the first hearing. But, in a letter to the Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Sen. Shehu Sani, in Abuja on Wednesday, the SGF said that rather than attend the hearing, he was challenging the invitation at the court.
The letter signed by the SGF read: “your letter of invitation to appear before the above committee refers. “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 gone to court to challenge the invitation among others.
“Please find attached the court documents.” The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, had on Jan. 24, 2017 read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari stating that the SGF was not given fair hearing at first hearing.