The Senate Ad Hoc Committee Chairman investigating the humanitarian crisis in North-East Nigeria, Senator Shehu Sani, says his committee is not aware of any court order barring the probe of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
The Committee, in an interim report released in December 2016 accused the SGF, Mr Babachir Lawal, of awarding a 200 million Naira contract to a company in which he allegedly had an interest.
Speaking at Thursday’s plenary, Senator Sani noted contrary to reports that the Committee has not received any letter from the SGF informing the Committee of any court injunction.
He also disclosed that 20 companies which were awarded contracts to address the humanitarian crisis in the North-East cannot be traced.
Mr Lawal was scheduled to appear before the Committee on Thursday, March 23 but in a letter to the Committee, he asked the lawmakers to reschedule the appointment because of an engagement.
Reacting to the SGF’s request, Senator Sani told the Senate at plenary that in the interest of fair hearing, the Committee has postponed the meeting to accommodate the SGF.
The contracts were awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North-East, a committee under the supervision of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the person of Babachir Lawal.
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has appealed to the United Nations to lift its suspension on aid deliveries in Nigeria.
UN made the announcement after a humanitarian aid convoy from the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was attacked while travelling from Bama to Maiduguri in Borno State.
In a statement by his spokesman, Senator Saraki condemned the attack, stating that it was unacceptable to endanger the lives of aid workers who were only trying to assuage the situation in Nigeria’s Northeast.
He further called for an immediate review of the security situation in the region by the relevant authorities.
The Senate President stressed that it was necessary to alleviate the concerns of international partners who are set to help rebuild the crisis-torn areas.
With the temporary suspension of UN’s activities in the region, Dr. Saraki called on the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant agencies to immediately address the shortfall that could arise from the cessation of donations of food and medicines.
He appealed to the UN to resume its activities in Northeast as soon as possible, while reassuring Nigerians and the international community that the Senate would fast-track the passage of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) Bill.
The NEDC Bill aims to create a legislative framework and multi-state platform for the coordination of relief and donations to the northeast zone.