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A group of senators of the All Progressives Congress, under the aegis of Unity Forum, have risen against the decision of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, over alleged diversion of N1 trillion recovered by the commission.
But in a statement jointly signed by Senators Ahmed Lawan, George Akume, Abu Ibrahim and Barnabas Gemade, the APC senators said on Wednesday that for a petition to be discussed in the Senate or House of Representatives, it must be channelled through a member of the House of Representatives or a senator.
“In standard parliamentary practice, a petition is routed through either a senator or member of the House of Representatives. Upon receipt of such petition, the representative will inform the presiding officer of the chamber and, thereafter, present the petition in the plenary.
“Thereafter the presiding officer will refer the matter to the appropriate committee upon which it will be returned to the Senate in plenary,” said the senators.
Quoting Rule 41 (1-3) of the Senate Standing Order, the senators explained how petitions are handled in parliament, saying “a senator presenting a petition shall confine himself to a brief statement of the parties from whom it came, the number of signatures attached to it and the material allegations contained in it and to reading the prayers of such petitions.
“All petitions shall be, without question being put, ordered to lie upon the table. Such petitions shall be referred to the Public Petitions Committee.”
The APC senators further stated that none of the foregoing rules was followed in handling the petition against the EFCC, and that they only read in the newspapers that the Senator Samuel Anywanu-led Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions would commence a probe of the EFCC chairman.