The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP on Thursday said the decision of the Senate to summon Prof. Itse Sagay for his comment against the upper chamber was unlawful.
In a statement by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mummuni, SERAP said the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions had no moral right to summon Sagay as it was inhabited by childish and irresponsible persons with questionable character.
Part of SERAP’s statement reads; “The Senate is not immune from constitutional control simply because it’s a law-making body. In fact, the Senate has neither special immunity from the operation of the constitution nor special privilege to invade the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed right to freedom of expression of Prof. Sagay or other citizens for that matter.
“The framers of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) would never have contemplated a legislative power without responsibility, and the Senate can’t continue to carry on in a manner that implies its law-making and oversight powers are not open to question.
“Therefore, its powers under the constitution ought to be exercised reasonably and responsibly, consistent with the fundamental notions of peace, order, good governance and the public interest.
“The human rights of Nigerians are secured against not only executive lawlessness but also legislative excesses. To trample on citizens’ freedom of expression is to thwart the ideals of representative democracy and the rule of law.
“The National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of Nigeria but recent events in the Senate would seem to stir the public anger. It seems curious that the Senate will be giving a raw deal to the heads of the two leading anti-corruption bodies in the country—Ibrahim Magu of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Itse Sagay of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.”