Senate asks Buhari to restrain Sagay from attacking National Assembly

The Senate has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to rein in the chairman of the Presidential Action Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, whom it accused of spreading falsehood and making hate speeches against the National Assembly.

A statement by its Spokesman yesterday, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said that Sagay was fond of using every opportunity to make public speeches to disparage the federal legislature by using uncouth and unprintable words to describe the legislators and the institution they represent.

He noted that Sagay believes his relevance is enhanced only when he creates constant tension between the legislature and the executive while also setting members of the executives against each other.

Abdullahi noted that while the legislators had ignored past statements made by the professor of law, his recent speech at a public lecture in Lagos where he gave ‘false’ details about the salary and allowances of the legislators and the various bills passed bordered on inciting members of the public against the legislators and deliberately circulating hate speech; which the government is working hard to contain.

His words: “As an academic whose creed should be to find facts and make comments based on truth, we believe that Sagay should stop spreading beer parlour rumours about the salaries and allowances of legislators when he could simply get the facts from the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC), constitutionally charged with the responsibility of fixing salaries and allowances of all public officials.

“Let us make it clear that our salaries and allowances are open books and the details can be taken from the RMFAC by any interested party.

“Sagay at his lecture in Lagos also made comparisons, which did little credit to his background as a lecturer, as he was talking of the salary of the United States President and that of a Nigerian legislator. That is like comparing oranges with apples. Such a comparison falls flat on its face, even to an ordinary man. Surely, Sagay is basing his analysis on street talks.’’

According to Senate, Sagay could not even check the records before proclaiming that ‘the National Assembly has not passed a single bill for the promotion of anti-corruption war since it commenced business in July 2015’.

“First, the 8th National Assembly was inaugurated on June 9, 2015 not July. Also, it is on record that the Senate has passed the Whistle Blowers’ Protection Bill, Witness Protection Bill, Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency Bill.

“He pontificates and talks as if the war against corruption of the Buhari administration depends solely on him to survive. He once publicly attacked the Attorney General of the Federation and accused him of not doing enough to prosecute the war. In the Lagos speech, he took a blanket swipe at the judiciary and rubbished that entire institution which he as a lawyer has the professional, ethical and constitutional duty to respect.,’’ the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime, Senator Foster Ogola (PDP Bayelsa West) has said commercial banks used by operatives of the now collapsed ponzi scheme popularly known as Mavrodi Mondial Movement (MMM), will soon be exposed and made to face appropriate sanctions.

Ogola, at an interactive session the committee had with key players in the financial sector, yesterday, disclosed that as a way of preventing such fraud in future, the Senate will soon come up with a legislation making digital education compulsory in both primary and secondary schools.

According to him, in the move to expose all those who were involved in the MMM fraud, an international expert in unearthing cyberspace and banking crimes is already in the country at the invitation of the Senate committee.

He explained that the essence of the interactive session was to gather the inputs that would soon be carried out on the cybercrime act ahead of the resumption of the Senate in two weeks time.

Stakeholders at the session, agreed on creation of centralized data base anchored on National Identity Card as the best way of preventing hacking cum cybercrime in the entire sector.

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