"Saraki Does Not Have Any Right To Invite Permanent Secretary" - Sen Marafa

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There is no inkling that the leadership crisis in the National Assembly would be resolved soon as the bad blood among aggrieved members against Senate President Bukola Saraki has continued almost unabated.

On Sunday, the Senator representing Zamfara Central Senatorial District, Kabir Marafa, declared that Saraki does not have any moral or constitutional right to summon the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance to the Senate floor to explain the country's economic state to the senators.

Marafa is the spokesperson for the Senate Unity Forum, under the control of Senator Ahmed Lawan, the senator anointed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the position of the Senate President.

In a statement issued in Abuja, Marafa said because Saraki did not follow the due process to become Senate President, he cannot accuse anyone of committing the same constitutional breach that he committed to become the Senate President.

Marafa said he read with "open-mouth amazement", the letter written by both the Chief of Staff to the Senate President  and that of the Clerk to the National Assembly on the refusal or inability of a government functionary to honour the invitation of the leadership of the senate.

"They were saying the refusal violates section 67(2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Can somebody please tell them that they are guilty of similar, if not higher, offence?" Marafa said.

“They,  in fact, not only violated the constitution to ascend to the Senate leadership, they murdered it!"

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and his team had shunned an invitation by the Senate President over some controversial issues.

After the Permanent Secretary and his team shunned the summon, the Clerk of the Senate, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, in another letter to the Permanent Secretary, and copied the Head of Service of the Federation, wrote: "I refer to our letter Ref. No. NASS/S//SP/ COS/CORRP/15/1/06 of 29th June 2015 on the above subject matter and your text message of July 7, 2015,  to the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, signifying your inability to honour the invitation.

"Your action is a deliberate violation of the provisions of Section 67(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999( as amended)."

He made it mandatory for the team to appear before the Senate leadership as contained in the previous letter to them on July 8, 2015.

Also, the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Senator Issa Galaudu, in another letter with reference number NASS /8 th /S/SP/COS/CORRP/15/2/07, to the Permanent Secretaries, informed the Permanent Secretary that his text message suggesting that he would not make the meeting, a day he was supposed to show up, is unacceptable.

The letter read in part: "this is an affront to the President of the Senate and its leadership. The provision of Section 67(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), is very clear and unambiguous in this regard. Hence, you do not need the permission of any official before you attend or appear before the Senate.

"Consequently, I have the instructions of the President of the Senate and leadership that you do spear before them on the date and time earlier communicated to you, Wednesday, 8th July 2015 by 11am prompt. It is my belief that you will comply unconditionally."