Saturday, July 2, 2016

Buhari hasn’t apologised to Senate – Presidency

The presidency has denied media reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had apologized to the senate for the conduct of an official of the ministry of justice.

The Senior Special Assistant to the president on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, on Friday said the reports were a misrepresentation of his comments.

Mr. Enang was reported to have apologized on behalf of Mr. Buhari for remarks made by Okoi Obono-Obla, a special assistant to the president on prosecution.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Enang said he only pleaded with senators in his personal capacity.

Mr. Obono-Obla had on Thursday allegedly questioned the authority of the Nigerian Senate to summon the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

He also reportedly said the presidency had no confidence in the Senate Judiciary Committee that summoned the Attorney-General.

Mr. Malami had asked Mr. Obono-Obla to represent him at a Senate Committee meeting, that was to examine the circumstances surrounding the trial of senate president, Bukola Sakari, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, for alleged forgery of Senate standing rules.

The senate committee refused to allow Mr. Obono-Obla represent Mr. Malami, who was said to be abroad at the time.







Mr. Enang said the development prompted him to convene a press conference at his residence as a way of easing tensions between the presidency and the National Assembly.

“I am a presidential liaison officer and I apologize for the inability of the Attorney-General to appear before the Senate when he was invited.

“He received a letter of invitation after he had already planned an official trip,” Mr. Enang said.

Mr. Enang said he had assured the senators that Mr. Malami would honour their invitation upon his return to the country.

“I said the attorney general will meet with the chairman of the Senate committee hearing the matter,” he said.

Mr. Enang, a former senator, said he apologised on behalf of Mr. Obono-Obla because he did not want the relationship between the lawmakers and Mr. Buhari to get frostier.

“I apologise for his comments. From what I heard, he was not complimentary to the senate,” Mr. Enang said. “We didn’t need to cause more trouble between the presidency and the Senate.”

Mr. Enang, therefore, urged Nigerians to dismiss reports that his apology was on behalf of the president, saying doing so, in this case, “would be terrible”.

“The president has not apologised. It is me that is apologising for the inappropriate action of the person representing the Attorney-General.

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