AGANGA, SANUSI IN TROUBLE
The Senate has summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mallam Sanusi Lamido to appear before four Joint Committees to defend what the lawmakers described as unfounded and frivolous allegations over budgetary allocation to the National Assembly.
Also to appear before the Senate Joint Committees is the Minister of Finance Mr. Olusegun Aganga who is expected to give the correct allocation of the budget to the federal legislature as an arm of government.
The issuance of the summons on Mallam Sanusi followed comments attributed to him in which he was quoted as having said National Assembly is serviced with about 25 per cent of the overhead cost of annual budgets.
Also to appear before the Senate Committees today is the Special Adviser to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to clarify the issue over the administration of constituency projects.
The Senate Joint Committees are those of Appropriation, Finance, Banking and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be chaired by Senator Iyiola Omisore.
Members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly noted the implications of the comments attributed to Mallam Sanusi and Mr. Aganga on the image of the National Assembly and the electoral values of members, necessitated that both government officials appear before the Joint Committees of the Senate today.
The Senate, however, voted against Mallam Sanusi appearing before the Senate at plenary in order not to give him unnecessary elevation of status he does not deserve even as majority of the Senators said the two government officials have lost the privilege to enter the Senate chamber after such disparaging comments against them.
Majority of the Senators that spoke on the matter noted that Mallam Sanusi's utterances were attempt to incite the public against the lawmakers, which they noted is worse than the treason which the United States government is preparing to charge the CEO of Wikilikis for releasing highly confidential cable communications between the US government and their envoys abroad.
Others complained that the reports have caused them and their families psychological traumas and stigmatization and thus called for his outright sack for deliberately turning against lawmakers.
For Senator Nuhu Aliyu (PDP Niger), 'let Sanusi and the Finance Minister appear before us so that we can dress them down.'
On his part, Senator Jibril Aminu (PDP Adamawa) said; 'We have treated Aganga and Mallam Sanusi Lamido very well in this chamber, why should they attack us unjustly?'
The Senators further noted that the comments of the CBN governor in particular was an exhibition of ignorance at high places stressing that the entire 2010 budget of the National Assembly stand at N158 billion which translate to just about three per cent of the total national budget.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives also yesterday summoned Sanusi and Aganga to appear at the plenary to defend allegations that the National Assembly was consuming 25 percent of the nation's resources.
The invitation was extended to the Finance Minister when the House was informed by the chairman of Banking and Currency committee, Mr Oguefi Ozomgbachi that Sanusi premised his comment on figures supplied him by Aganga.
Contributing to a motion by Mr Halims Agoda, Ozomgbachi said that he was in touch with the CBN governor who informed him that it was on the basis of information provided by the Minister of Finance that he made the statement.
Members had pour venom on the CBN governor, saying that his allegations was reckless and capable of inciting members of the public against the National Assembly in an election year.
Agoda had pointed out that the allegations that 25 percent of the nation's resources was spent to maintain the National Assembly was capable of damaging the integrity of the lawmakers and could not be substantiated.
Adding his voice on the need to invite Sanusi to shed light on the allegations with facts and figures, Patrick Ikhariale observed that the CBN governor's statement was not only worrisome, but damaging and reckless.
While Igo Aguma and Stanley Ohajiuruka called for the resignation of the CBN governor, Emmanuel Jimeh and Abike Dabiri-Erewa canvassed for a window of opportunity for Sanusi to come and substantiate his allegations with facts and figures.