As the National Assembly resumed from its Ramadan recess, tension enveloped both chambers of the federal legislature, with the Senate threatening to commence impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari and lawmakers in the House of Representatives sharply divided over the proposal seeking to confer immunity from criminal prosecution on the presiding officers of the National Assembly.
According to a report by The Nation, the Pro-Saraki senators at the senate’s plenary yesterday made their position known after the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, David Umar, gave a feedback on the last meeting they were supposed to have with the Attorney General of the Federation and Chief Justice of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who failed to honor their invitation. The Pro-Saraki senators felt it was a slap on their faces.
Senators Isa Misau, Dino Melaye, Jibrin Barau and Monsurat Sunmonu condemned the attitude of the AGF, stating that his action shows that “the Presidency is fighting the Senate with the disrespect for the chamber by the AGF”.
A source quoted Senator Misau as saying: “The Executive should toe the path of dialogue or else the Senate will go for the jugular.”
A member of the Unity Forum which is a group of Senators against Saraki’s leadership, asked: “What is the meaning of the jugular? Tell us; we don’t know what you mean.”
An enraged Misau said: “Impeachment, of course.”
Another source said, Senator Melaye, after raining abuses on perceived enemies of Saraki, demanded that the senators behind a petition against Saraki that led to the trial should stand up and disown the petition or risk suspension. Melaye, it was said, insisted that Senator Kabiru Marafa and Senator Sulaiman Hunkuyi should be suspended if they failed to disown the petition and apologize to the Senate. Senator Oluremi Tinubu was allowed to speak and she reminded her colleagues that they all represent their various Senatorial Districts and that there was no reason for anybody to be threatened.
At this point, Melaye was said to have said unprintable words to Senator Tinubu. He reportedly sprang up from his seat and was charging towards Senator Tinubu until he was blocked by some Senators. It was gathered that attempts to calm Melaye failed as he continued to call Senator Tinubu names.
Another source at the senate said: “Apparently, some senators held a meeting on Monday and planned to suspend those who went to court on the emergence of Saraki and Ekweremadu. The mood at the Executive Session made them to stay action because they knew it would not work at all. To get the number was a bit difficult for them.”
An intervention by Sen. Barnabas Gemade, restored peace to the house. Making his plea, Gemade said “Instead of the Senate going for the jugular, we should look for ways of dialoguing on all the issues at hand. We had earlier set up a committee on reconciliation in this chamber and I am aware the committee got to an appreciable level. Why can’t we resolve all other outstanding differences?”
Based on Gemade’s “emotional” appeal, the Senate resolved to:
dismiss the impeachment advisory against Buhari and other drastic measures;
stay action on suspension of some senators;
stop the planned issuance of a warrant of arrest against the AGF;
give the AGF another chance by re-inviting him to appear before the Senate Committee; and to
set up a committee headed by Sen. David Mark to resolve all outstanding differences among senators
A senator said: “We were all happy that a former President of the Senate, Chief David Mark, will now head a committee to iron out all outstanding differences among senators. Before we left the session, Senators also reconciled Sen. Tinubu and Dino Melaye. We said there was no basis for losing our cool when w