SENATORS and House of Representatives members yesterday reacted to the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal by his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari.
The lawmakers said the development was in tune with Nigerians’ expectation of a government that has the anti-corruption crusade as its selling point.
Praising the President for wielding the big stick against the SGF, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Matthew Urhoghide, told journalists in a telephone interview that the move showed the President’s readiness to fight corruption irrespective of who was involved.
Describing the suspension as a welcomed development, Urhoghide said contrary to beliefs that the National Assembly was out to witch-hunt members of the executive, the assembly had sincerity of purpose in the discharge of its duties.
He said: “Some of the decisions of the assembly are reached on the merit of their cases. So, if the President now considers that it is a good thing for him to take a look at the report from the Senate, which was given in good faith, it is nice.
The Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee investigating the Northeast crises, Senator Shehu Sani, in a statement in Abuja, applauded the President’s action on his committee’s report.
He said it was commendable that the committee’s report was taken seriously.
Sani said: “The sword of truth is not just cast and sharpened for the neck of foes but also for those of friends. Moral gallows is not just meant for a belligerent foe but for a perfidious friend.
“Courage is dispensing justice; greater courage is dispensing justice against our emotions and temptation towards saving a friend. It’s easier to annihilate an adversary for a heap wrong than reprimand a friend for a mountain of wrong.
“It’s commendable for the president to heed the call to fumigate the throne of lice and bugs with the same ability he goes after rodents afar.’’
Senator Adamu Aliero, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, also applauded the courage of the President.
Senator Mohammed Hassan (PDP-Yobe), a member of the ad hoc committee, said the committee was putting finishing touches to the final report on its assignment.
He said the report would be laid before the Senate after the Easter break.
He said: “I am just hearing this from you, but you know it was an interim report that was presented to the Senate and the final report, I am sure when we resume, will be laid on the floor of the Senate.
“If you recall, we were to have a public hearing where all those involved will be invited and that couldn’t hold for some obvious reasons that were stated on the floor of the senate. What I know is that the committee will ensure that the report is laid on the floor of the Senate.”
The Green Chamber members expressed mixed feelings over the suspension of the SGF and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, (NIA), Ayo 0ke.
Minority Leader Leo Ogor said the suspension was in tune with the government’s anti-graft war posture.
He, however, demanded thorough investigation and disclosure of the ownership of the Osborne Towers, Lagos $43 million haul.
Ogor said: “The suspension of both men is a step in the right direction for Nigeria but it must be in line with the transparency agenda of this administration vis a vis its anti-corruption drive right from inception.
“We Nigerians demand a detailed probe on the $43 million that was found and there’s need to throw more light on who actually owns the money or better still, let them specifically tell us where the money came from.”
Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, believed the President Muhammadu Buhari was prompted into action by public outcry.
He said: “It was Nigerians, who actually pushed the Federal Government into action due to their persistence that justice must be seen to be equitably distributed.