Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, says he has pity for the people of Kogi state for having Ibrahim Muhammad as attorney-general.
Ekweremadu said this on the floor of the senate on Tuesday, while reacting to an advertorial signed by Muhammad.
“I must put on record that legal opinion of senator Ekweremadu on the role of the senate in the recall process, the senate has no role whatsoever in the recall exercise than to receive the certificate under the hand of the chairman of INEC stating that the provision of section 69 of the constitution has been complied with see 68 h of the 1999 constitution as amended,” read the advertorial.
But Ekweremadu said Muhammad conveniently neglected section 68 (2) of the constitution where it said the senate would still deliberate on whether Melaye should be recalled or not.
“This morning my attention was drawn to a three-page advertorial, pages 20, 21 and 22 of the Leadership Newspaper by Ibrahim Muhammmad, attorney-general of Kogi, who was responding to my contribution on the floor of the senate when Senator Dino Melaye informed this senate of the efforts of the people of his constituency to recall him,” the deputy senate president said.
“I want to advise the people of Kogi state and indeed his constituents to apply their time to more useful venture in view of the very difficult conditions of recall of parliamentarians and in reference to the attorney-general, I did say that my learned friend may not have advised the people or indeed the government appropriately.
“So, this morning, Kogi state government took an advertorial to respond to me and I understand that every page costs about N700,000. For this alone, they spent about N2 million and I understand that it is an about five other papers so we are looking at about N12 million spent to responding to my comment.
“I pity the people of Kogi state that hired this kind of attorney-general and this is unfortunate that are paying a public servant and he is unable to do a simple work looking at the constitution. We must emphasise that 68 (2) is not part of the amendment since 1999. This has been the original provision of the constitution.
“It has nothing to do with Dino or whoever. It has been there since 1999 for him not to know about it – I don’t know where he went to law school anyway. If he has been properly educated, I believe he should have been conversant with the basic provisions of the constitution.
“I’m even his senior at the bar, he ought to show some respect because that is what we were taught at the law school, to respect our senior. But for the avoidance of doubt, I want to believe I have better credentials in the legal profession and my interest was constitutional law, I have a doctorate degree in law and my area is constitutional law. I have been chairman of the constitutional review committee in this national assembly since 2010.
“I expect the attorney-general instead of displaying his ignorance to call and I educate him on the correct position of the law. So, I take exception to this and I believe that he needs to refund the amount spent on this to the people of Kogi. I call on the house of assembly to institute an inquiry on who paid for this and find a way of receiving the money back to pay salaries of Kogi state.”
Also speaking, Senate President Bukola Saraki, said it was irresponsible for a state government to spend over N10 million for an advert.
“One is concerned with the calibre of people in government. What is disturbing and irresponsible is when you spend over N10 million for advert. As said it is very unfortunate for the people of Kogi state,” Saraki said.