The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East, Sen. Shehu Sani, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of using double standards in fighting corruption.
Sani made the accusation in response to a letter by the President dismissing a report by the committee indicting the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, for corruption.
“When it comes to fighting corruption in the National Assembly and the Judiciary and in the larger Nigerian sectors, the President uses insecticide, but when it comes to fighting corruption within the Presidency, they use deodorants,” Sani said.
Buhari had in his letter, which was read during plenary by Senate President Bukola Saraki, accused the committee of failing to give the SGF a fair hearing, adding that the Senate report was signed by only three out of the nine committee members.
But Sani said Buhari’s letter was based on “misinformation and outright distortions”, declaring that he stood by the committee’s report.
He said, “It is shocking to me that such a letter can come from the Presidency with such misinformation and outright distortions. They lied by saying that the committee didn’t invite the SGF: the committee invited the SGF and the letter was acknowledged by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the SGF.
“To make sure that we buttress our point, we made a paid advert in three or four national dailies: this one (Daily Trust) was published on December 2, 2016, and the SGF was clearly mentioned as one of those that were expected to come and appear before the National Assembly.
“If they have the intention of simply reaching a pre-determined conclusion by covering up on the issues raised by the committee, that is one thing.”
He also said that seven members of the committee signed the report, contrary to the President’s claim.
“I have a copy of the interim report which was initially signed by seven members of the nine members of that committee and I am going to submit it to the Clerk of the Senate,” Sani said.
“Even if it (total number of members) is nine and, then, three people signed, we still have a quorum. But, here, I have seven people.”
Condemning the omission of his name, Sani said, “I know I am not very big in frame but I believe my name shouldn’t have been omitted. This shows clearly how the SGF and his minions in the Presidency misinformed the President to sign this letter.
Sani, who said corruption must be fought without bias, described the President’s letter as “a funeral service for the anti-corruption fight”, adding that it was unfortunate that “we have a political atmosphere where you have a saintly and angelic Presidency and a devilish and evil society.”