11th September, 2017
SENATE SHOULD LEAVE SAGAY ALONE
The Nigerian Senate two days ago berated Professor Itsay Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Action Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), for spreading falsehood and hate speech against it. The Red Chamber therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rein in the PACAC Chairman.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) believes that Senate is beating about the bush. It should face the business of legislation, stop all distractions and digressions and leave Professor Itsay Sagay alone.
Nigerians have noticed Senate’s unwillingness to join the fight against corruption from inception. We refuse to be hoodwinked. We have not forgotten how Senate attempted to buy immunity from prosecution for its members until public outcry forced it to withdraw the obnoxious, anti-people and corruption-laden bill.
Nigerians also know the history of this eighth Senate. The masses know the subterfuge, the hanky-panky and the pseudo-coup that preceded its inauguration. This segment of Nigeria’s political history has not fallen victim of the general amnesia.
Senate cites its passing of the Whistle Blowers’ Protection Bill, Witness Protection Bill, Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency Bill as evidence of its support for the current war against corruption but fails to tell the world the time these bills were passed. Tell us the dates if, indeed, you are sincere. We put it to Senate that those bills were passed belatedly after prolonged delays.
If it is true that Senate is actively supporting the war against corruption, why is it that the same Senate is always at loggerheads with the two principal dramatis personae in the anti-graft war, namely, Ibrahim Magu, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Professor Sagay who is the Chairman of the Presidential Action Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC).
These are the two main agencies saddled with the prosecution, strategisation and conceptualization of the war against graft and Senate has never seen eye to eye with them. Something is wrong here. Who is deceiving who? Who has something to hide? Does Senate think Nigerians have no sense of perception? Who will have a field day if police is shut out of circulation? We all know the answer.
Senate once summoned Sagay in order to tongue-lash him though the no-nonsense professor called Senate’s bluff. The same Senate has repeatedly refused to confirm Magu as EFCC chairman. Senate followed up with threat that no presidential nominee will be confirmed unless Magu was sacked. Senate leaves no one in doubt about its body language. Nigerians have since concluded that Senate is serving the interest of its members who have pending corruption cases.
Or can Senate deny that many of its members, particularly former governors, have pending corruption cases? Who is prosecuting those cases? Who has the files? Is it not EFCC under the same Magu? So how will Senate confirm an uncompromising EFCC chairman. Logical, isn’t it? Sagay coordinates the intellectual engine room of the war against corruption. This alone is his crime and for this Senate wants him crucified. We will not stand akimbo watching the elimination of the few good ones…
As we round up, we urge Mr. President to ignore Senate’s complaints about Sagay. We affirm full confidence in Professor Itsay Sagay. Senate should just leave him alone. Like President Buhari, Sagay built up an unassailable reputation over the years and this cannot be rubbished by Nigeria’s lawmakers. We advise Senate to squarely face its legislative duty and stop perambulating.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)