President Muhammadu Buhari has tendered an unreserved apology to the Senate over the statement made by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami that he is not answerable to the Senate. The President, who described the comments of the AGF as regrettable, said such remarks ought not to have been made in the first instance.
Recall that at a sitting of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on Thursday, where Malami was summoned to justify why he instituted forgery charges against the Senate leadership, he told the panel that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
He was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla.
Dissatisfied with his explanation, the committee chaired by David Umaru walked him out, insisting that the AGF must appear in person.
Visibly angry, he stormed out of the venue and told journalists that the AGF was not answerable to the Senate. He described the sitting of the committee as illegal and contempt of court, adding that the Presidency lacked confidence in the panel.
In a swift reaction, Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang apologised to the Senate for the remarks made by the representative of the AGF.
According to the presidential aide, efforts are ongoing to ensure that the AGF appears before the panel as soon as he returns to the country.
“I heard the statements and I want to apologise to the Distinguished Senate, to the Committee on Judiciary and the distinguished senators because that statement ought not to have been made. And the Attorney General is Attorney General of the Federation, appointed by Mr President, cleared by the Senate and responsible for the federation.
“We will handle this matter but I first have to tender my unreserved apology for the impression it may have created to the distinguished Senate, senators and the committee members”, Enang told newsmen at the weekend in Abuja.
He said the AGF is currently out of the country on official assignment and would appear before the panel as soon as he arrives.
Thursday’s absence was the second time in one week that the AGF would not appear before the committee.
Enang added: “The Attorney General spoke with me on Thursday morning that he is on official assignment on behalf of the country. When he is in, we will make arrangement for him to respond appropriately. We want to apologise pending when he is back to respond appropriately”.
He dismissed media reports that the Presidency had lined up presidential aides to testify against the Senate leadership over the forgery trial, explaining that he is appearing as prosecution witness as the former chairman, Rules and Business Committee of the 7th Senate.
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