By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- SOME Senators have taken a swipe at the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim, APC, Katsina South who boasted that the Senate will not witness peace if Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki fails to resign from his present position.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Isa Hamma Misau, PDP, Bauchi Central and Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, PDP, Kwara South said that Senate President Saraki will not resign, just as they asked Senator Ibrahim to do his worst.
Misau and Rafiu Ibrahim have also warned Senator Abu Ibrahim and those they described as his fellow travellers in the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to foment any trouble when the Senate resumes on September 25, as the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki will never resign from the position.
Misau and Ibrahim, in a statement jointly signed by them in reaction to an interview granted by the Katsina Senator stated that Abu Ibrahim and his colleagues will meet their match if they tried anything illegal even with all the deployment of security forces which they might have been assured of by the executive arm of government.
According to them, the APC- led government has always demonstrated serious contempt for the Legislature, which explained why the government in 38 months has only forwarded to the National Assembly, 11 Executive bills.
The statement by Misau and Ibrahim read, “It is obvious from the statements of Abu Ibrahim that he and his cohorts are not democrats. They do not believe in the rule of law, the provisions of the constitution, the standing order of the Senate, parliamentary procedure and the due process.
“How will a supposed democrat be threatening disruption of peace in the parliament because his party lost members and lost its majority status? His statements showed why one of them led thugs to disrupt the proceeding of the Senate, steal the mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, and yet there is no consequence. Both the mastermind and his thugs have been protected from being prosecuted. Now, Abu Ibrahim has given us an insight into what they are planning and we will be ready for them. He has also shown an indication of how he, as the chairman of the Police Affairs Committee, has been misusing the police against other Senators.
“APC should note that they are now the minority party. PDP has more members. When we resume, if they push us, we will move for a head count of members and change some of our principal officers to reflect party strength. Today, by the list paraded by APC themselves, they have only 48 Senators and PDP has 54, APGA has 2 and ADC has 2. There are two vacancies. That is the distribution in the Senate. Let them continue to deceive themselves.
“We will use our strength to defend the position of the present leadership of the Senate under Dr. Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu. We will defend democracy and rule of law against the pretenders. We will show that every Senator represent different constituencies in our country.
“Our colleague from Katsina State has equally demonstrated that even though he has spent four terms in the legislature, he has not imbibed parliamentary ethos. Even his knowledge of the provisions of the law and the Senate rules is suspect. That is why he misrepresented the provisions of Rule 12 order 1, 2 and 3 of the Senate about the process of reconvening the Senate after it properly adjourned. By the provision, without all the leaders of the four parties initiating the reconvening of the Senate before the adjourned date, nothing can legally happen. Also without the consent of the Senate President, nothing can happen.
“We urge him and his colleagues to know that if they tried anything illegal and indecent, we will resist it through legal means. They saw an instance with the way our colleagues in the House of Representatives quickly gathered to foil their failed coup early this week.
“Abu Ibrahim and his cohorts have shown that they are desperate to win the 2019 elections at all cost by all means. We are surprised that this defection is making APC so uncomfortable that they are ready to bring the country down because some Senators left their party. We gave them all the opportunities to make amends from their destructive, non-inclusive and dictatorial ways. They did not take the chances and were behaving as if nobody matters. They are running a government by cabals, serving selfish interests and forgetting all the promises the party made to the people before being elected into office.
“The APC government has always demonstrated serious contempt for the legislature. That is why they have sent only a paltry 11 executive bills to the National Assembly in 38 months despite their promise of reform in various sectors of the country, The APC government came in 2015 and the first proposal they put forward was to have emergency powers in a democracy. Thank God we did not fall for their antics.
“We call on all Nigerians and the international community to take note of the threat by Abu Ibrahim and know that if there is any illegal move to reconvene the Senate or there is breakdown of law and order in the Senate, the man has leaked their plan. The APC cabal in the Senate should be held responsible. Nigerians and the global community should know the type of people in charge of Nigeria now and how they seek to desecrate and destroy democratic institutions at will.”
It will be recalled that prior to its adjournment for its annual break and to reconvene September 26, the 8th Senate has so far passed over 213 bills, just as it has also cleared 138 petitions from members of the public.
This the Senate under Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said that the record has surpassed the records of of the entire four- year term of every previous Senate.
Meanwhile, available records have shown that President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Executive has sent only 12 bills to the present National Assembly since its inception The 12 bills are apart from the statutory budgets related bills.
According to the legislative records, the Bills sponsored in both chambers of the Federal Legislature in the last 37 months include: Communications Service Tax Bill 2015; Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2011 (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill, 2016; Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2016; Chartered Institute of Directors of Nigeria (Est. etc,) Bill, 2017; National Lottery Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the National Water Resources Bill, 2017.
Others are the National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Est. etc,) Bill, 2017; Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria (Est. etc,) Bill, 2017; Federal Institute of Industrial Research Bill, 2017; Raw Materials Research and Development Council (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill, 2018; Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (Est. etc,) Bill, 2018 and the Minerals and Mining Bills,2018.
It was noted that of the 12 Bills, only two were aimed at enhancing the anti-corruption crusade of the government.
While the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2016 has been passed by the National Assembly, the other one – Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2011 (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill, 2016 – was withdrawn by the executive due to reported disagreement between the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
Meanwhile, the Senate has passed four other bills in support of the anti-corruption agenda of the present administration, namely – Witness Protection Bill, the Whistleblower Protection Bill, Federal Audit Service Commission Bill and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Bill (NFIU. These four bills were sponsored by individual Senators as private member bills.
On the other executive bills forwarded to the National Assembly, the report of the Chartered Institute of Directors of Nigeria (Est. etc,) Bill, 2017 has since been laid and awaiting final consideration and passage by the Senate, while the rest are at different stages of legislative scrutiny by the relevant committees.
Meanwhile, the National Water Resources Bill, 2017 had to be stood down after its consideration at the second reading stage following the irreconcilable differences among the Senators as they sharply disagreed. Debate on the bill at the Senate plenary showed serious division along geo-pllitical lines among the Senators.
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