The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, has apologised to the Senate over his comment that the resolutions of the Senate were only advisory and not binding.
The minister offered the apology on Tuesday in Abuja when he appeared before the Senate to clarify the statement credited to him in the media. The Senate had passed a resolution upon its resumption from recess that the federal government should stop the proposed issuance of N5, 000 note.
The upper legislative house had explained its position by saying the note’s introduction was contradictory to the cashless policy being canvassed. Maku, while responding to questions from journalists at a function in Abuja, was quoted as having said that the Senate’s resolution was a mere advice as it was not binding.
The Senate thereafter summoned Maku to appear before it to clarify his statement. The minister, while appearing before the Senate Committee on Information, had said: “I did not in any way intend to disparage or disrespect the authority of the National Assembly by my comment. ``I was just trying to explain to the journalists without having to make a declaration on behalf of the President (Goodluck Jonathan). ``If that comment has been misinterpreted, I tender my apologies to the Senate because personally, I have no reason to disrespect the National Assembly. “I was at a forum and journalists threw a question at me, as to whether the government would cancel the introduction of the N5000 note as a result of the Senate resolution. ``Now, I was pressed by the press and journalists were looking for headlines. The answer was not the position of the federal government and I took efforts to explain to my colleagues.’’
Maku, however, told the Senators that he was not misquoted by the press. On whether the resolutions of the Senate were binding or not, Maku said he was aware that if the nation was at war, the National Assembly had the power to extend the life span of a government.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), said the Senate was worried that the government it had tried severally to support would now turn to disparage it.
The chairman, who observed that the nation was undergoing several challenges, said that it was important for both arms of government to solve them and not by resorting to bickering. He said the Senate had accepted Maku’s apology and expressed the hope that such situation would never arise again.