Professor Itse Sagay, chairman of presidential advisory committee against corruption (PACAC), has said the Nigerian senate lacks the power to summon him for expressing an opinion. The professor of law advised the senate to seek legal advice over the limit of its powers, urging the lawmakers not to embarrass themselves.
Sagay said he has a constitutional right to air his views on the pages of the newspapers, adding that he is not in the category of government officials that can be summoned by the senate. This was after he aired his views and got a tongue lash from some senators .
He urged any senator who feels aggrieved by his statement to head to court and sue.
“I expressed an opinion in the newspaper. It’s my constitutional right. Now, they say they’re inviting me,” he said.
“I’ve not got the summons yet, but I’m saying that they absolutely have no authority or power to summon me before them, just as I have no power or authority to summon them before me. Our powers in that regard on virtual summons are exactly the same.
“So, it is a futile exercise. My advice to them is to ask their legal advisers to tell them how limited their powers are under Sections 82 to 89 of the 1999 Constitution. Then they will know that I am far, far outside the category of people they can ever invite. And they would save themselves the embarrassment of the consequences of that futile invitation.
“They absolutely have no authority to invite a private citizen who expresses an opinion. They have been defeated in court so many times for trying to invite people over whom they have no power.
“So, that’s why I said they should just save themselves that embarrassment. They can’t intimidate anybody. They can’t stop me from expressing my views, which are guaranteed by the Constitution.
“They cannot become a court for me to appear before. Courts are established, and I can only appear before a court, not before them.”