by Azeez Adeniyi
The Senate on Thursday said it has been unable to locate the addresses of about 20 companies awarded the execution of various projects in the rehabilitation of the North-East.
The upper chamber is probing the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal who is in charge of the Presidential Initiative on the North-East.
Chairman, Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East, Senator Shehu Sani said some of the companies could not be traced.
Sani said, “Now, we are set to invite all those persons. It was supposed to be today but, unfortunately, it could not happen.
“Meanwhile, you should understand that we are not investigating the SGF alone; we are investigating contracts that were awarded under the PINE. And over 20 companies were involved, but something very strange is the fact that some of these companies involved in these contracts, we cannot actually trace their addresses.
“We went there but they were not there. The option before us is to either report that they are ghost companies or we keep on searching until we find them. But it is most likely that it will be easier for the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for us to find some of these names here.”
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang denied that there was any rift between the Senate and legislature.
He stated, “Let me also state that the executive has great respect for the institution of the Senate and the distinguished senators themselves.
“That is why the secretary to the government personally wrote and signed, and he is requesting rescheduling of the meeting and not saying he will not come. He is requesting rescheduling and the letter has been delivered to the committee.”
Lawal had sent a letter to the Senate on Thursday, stating that he could not appear before it due to an official assignment.