Anyanwu, Marafa in war of words

By Cynthia Ferdinand October 31, 2015 12:45

Anyanwu, Marafa in war of words

Zamfara Senator, Kabiru Marrafa has called for the suspension of the Chairman of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Sam Anyanwu over recommendations reflected in his report on the petition against former Rivers Governor, and now confirmed minister Rotimi Amaechi.

Amaechi’s confirmation as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was against the recommendations of the Committee which insisted his confirmation be suspended by the Senate pending when the court rules on his case.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senators during the confirmation process urged the Committee of a Whole not to confirm the nominee and upon being rejected, walked out of plenary. The Senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, subsequently confirmed him.

The petition indicted Amaechi of enriching himself with over N71bn belonging to the people of Rivers state.

See: Amaechi scales through Senate hoops amidst chaos

Marafa in an interview with POST NIGERIA disclosed that whether the Senate accepted the report or not was a non-issue as the Committee should not have ventured into reviewing the petition in the first place, premised on Section 41(7) of the Senate Standing Rules:

“The Senate shall not receive any matter which there is a judicial remedy.”

He accused the Committee of not only going against the above order but also going against Order 74, (1,3 ) which states that a Senator must declare his interest and if a Senator fails to declare his direct pecuniary interest will be liable to suspension.

He stated that the drama in the house could have been avoided if the 8th Senate had considered the Senate rules adding that he has been vindicated as he always emphasized its importance.

    “I have been vindicated because I have always said that they should work with our rules. The actions on the floor of the senate could have been avoided rather it was turned into politics.

    “The committee went ahead to make findings and came up with funny recommendations showing that they have pecuniary interest.”

Marafa had accused the Principal Officers of the 8th Senate of tampering with the Senate Standing Orders (the matter is still in court.)

See: Marafa calls out Deputy House Leader, labels him disgrace

In response Anyanwu stated that there was no basis for Marafa’s claims as the Committee did not go into the merits of the white paper indicting Amaechi.

    “Once there is a petition the Senate President will ask if it is in the remedy of the court before it would be laid.”

Speaking to POST NIGERIA Anyanwu, reaffirmed the observations in the report;

    “Neither the Senate nor the presenter knew that the matter being presented on the floor of the Senate was already a subject of litigation in an Appeal court in Port-Harcourt.

    “Since the matter is already a subject of litigation in a competent court of law, and since the Senate could not work contrary to his own rules (order 41 (7)), it is constrained in taking any further action.”

Anyanwu’s Committee presented its recommendations thus; “That since the ministerial nominee had gone to the court of appeal, to challenge the content of the petition and the white paper of the judicial commission of inquiry, the Senate is unable to recommend of his confirmation.

    “That the Senate do consider and adopt the recommendation as proposed by the committee.”

He said Saraki ought to have handled the scenario differently.

    “If I were Saraki I would suspend the session for us to go into an executive session to reach a truce. I may not have been in the Senate for so long but I have been part of the parliament for 9 years, I understand the parliamentary process.”

He stated 8 out of the 11-member committee signed the report including the committee Chairman who is the Deputy Senate Leader, Ibn Na’allah and Senate Spokesperson, Dino Melaye.

See: Na’Allah, Melaye lead “change” against Amaechi

He confessed that before presenting any report he presents it to his Deputy Na’allah to review and that other lawyers of repute had confirmed the standard of the report.

Anyanwu however accused the APC of turning the committee report into a party affair on the floor of the hallowed chamber, while concurring to the statement by his colleagues George Sekibo and Biodun Olujimi that it was a moral burden on the Senate with Nigerians watching.

    “They made it a party affair and the PDP made the right step,” he added.

PDP Senators also accused the ruling party of boycotting due process against the wish of the Nigerian people with Minority Senate Leader Godswill Akpabio affirming as much;

    “The issues brought against the nominee were issues that were brought upon the Senate.

    “The majority party felt there was no need to comply with the law and it would have been a good idea to allow the Senate to go into the matter and we will not partake in that type of thing.”

See: Why we staged a walk out – PDP Senators

All Efforts to reach Dino Melaye who also assented to the report proved abortive as he ducked all efforts to reach him.