THE Executive Secretary of the Legislative Watch and former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Ngozika Ihuoma has cautioned the chairman of the Advisory committee on anti-corruption, Professor Itse Sagay to note that his office is not an appellate court.
In an interview with journalists in Kaduna on Sunday, the scribe lambasted the outburst of Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) on the official conduct of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Hon. Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).
Hon Ihuoma described Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) as having placed himself and his office which is not known to the 1999 Constitution as an appellate court over the Office of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice which is provided for in Section 150 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended);
“We are concerned that Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) in the last 2½ years of being appointed to chair an Advisory Committee Against Corruption by Mr. President has only succeeded in bringing shame to the APC-led Federal Government by holding unpopular legal opinions as well as interpreting the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to suit his shallow knowledge, a function dully reserved for the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
”We are worried that such un-informed legal opinion of Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) has led to serious constitutional crisis and near head-on collusion by various arms of government in this dispensation which includes the Senate vs Executive over the powers of confirmation of certain appointees of Mr President by the Senate based on Section 171(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as at) not minding the powers of the National Assembly to enact Laws to enhance good governance as provided in Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended);
Others were the Executive vs Judiciary in the powers of National Judicial Council (NJC) to discipline erring judicial officers in line with Section 153(i) and Third Schedule paragraph 21(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). The now famous mid-night raid on the official residence of some judges by EFCC & DSS is a case in question of Sagay’s miss-advice;
Ihuoma also cited that the Executive vs APC in the manner of recruitment of members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) from the opposition parties which the individual right of such persons to join, cross carpet and remain in any party of choice is guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in Section 221 to 229.
“Evidence abound of Prof. Itse Sagay querying the All Progressive Congress Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun for admitting persons facing trial but not convicted into the party thereby infringing on peoples’ right to freedom of association as captured in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by not disobeying the resolutions of the National Assembly on certain conducts inimical to good governance and separation of powers by the three arms of government.
He said the continued stay in office of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the Acting Chairman of EFCC not minding his being rejected twice by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in accordance with the Act Establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 2002 OR 2004 among others?
“Today, Monetary Policy Committee Meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cannot meet due to the non-confirmation of members of Board of CBN in line with the CBN ACT 2007 by the Senate. Thanks to Sagay’s ill advice.
Hon Ihuoma added, “we are disappointed that Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) has not found his voice in condemning the actions of one of his close associates Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) in the matter of illegal acquisition of an exhibit (property) in the on-going trial of suspected “Pension thieves” arrested by the Abdulrasheed Maina-led Presidential Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), thereby obstructing the well of justice in securing conviction by the EFCC since 2011 to date.
His unsolicited advice to Mr. President should not include disobedience to court judgments, which he is known to preach since his days as a lecturer In University of Benin leading to his sack in the 1990s. Those who live in glass house should not throw stones. Elder Statesmen should be an example in character and learning. Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) should know better, he stressed.