By Tunde Adetunji, Abuja.
24 hours after the Senate wielded the big stick on Customs boss, Retired Colonel Hameed Ali, and the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Engr. Babachir David Lawal, told a Senate Committee that he would not honour a summons, he has made a sudden U-turn.
But the Senate, now in closed session, ostensibly over Babachir’s letter is expected to react soon.
Babachir says he will now show up if the public hearing is rescheduled, not because he has gone to court to challenge them as he earlier stated, but because of a pressing government assignment.
A letter he rushed to Senator Shehu Sani, which was available yesterday reads:
Dear Distinguished Senator Shehu Sani “Re Invitation for public hearing
Your letter of invitation to appear before the above committee refers.
“I wish to kindly request that you draw the attention of the other members of the Committee that l will not be able to appear before the Committee primarily because of a pressing engagement of Government which clashed with the date and time of the hearing.
“I kindly request a rescheduling of the hearing, please .
“Please, accept my highest regards.”
Coming on the same day Comptroller-General of Customs was asked to resign for hiding under a court action to evade the Senate, analysts feared Wednesday that government could go into a state of anomie with the face-off, especially if President Muhammadu Buhari did not play the card of a statesman.
Babachir was at the centre of comments by Senator Shehu Sani, when he described a letter written by President Muhammadu Buhari exonerating Lawal as the funeral of Buhari’s anti-corruption war, pointing out that when the president wants to fight corruption outside the presidency, he uses a disinfectant but when it is within the presidency, he uses a deodorant.
Wednesday, Lawal’s released letter told the Senate Committee members that he will not be able to appear before the committee primarily because he had gone to court to challenge their invitation of him to appear.