Senate In Stormy Session Over Call On Buhari To Resign

A debate on the worsening security situation in the country led to fireworks in the Senate on Wednesday.

The session became rowdy following a call by the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over his inability to safeguard the lives and property of Nigerians since 2015.

The Senators were however divided on the necessity of adopting a state police model in the country.

However, they were unanimous on the urgent needs for the President to sack the present Service Chiefs.

Abaribe insisted that Buhari and the All Progressives Congress(APC) had told Nigerians during their electioneering campaigns to stone them if they fail to perform.

He said: “it is now time to pick stones to stone them” in view of their obvious failure.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan cut Abaribe short.

He called on him and all those who were going to contribute to the debate to be apolitical.

He said that bandits and Boko Haram insurgents do not operate on partisan grounds when they kill citizens.

Abaribe said: “When I was coming this morning, I saw a newspaper headline of THISDAY, which said: the ‘Commander-In-Chief expresses shock at the level of violent crimes’ in the country.

“In other words, Mr President was expressing surprise but in accordance to our rules in Order 53 (13), I will not go into that but I can only say in pidgin English ‘this surprise, surprise me.’

“Mr. President, you have told us that on this solemn day and in discussing this matter, that we may not at any point be partisan.

“I want to say Mr. President, if you didn’t insist that we will not be partisan, I would have called out the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, who when the CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) leaders complained about the killing of a priest, he turned around and said CAN was acting like a political party.

“Now that we are talking about it here, let me hear him say that all of us are acting like a political party when many are complaining about these incessant deaths in this country.

“Because we have to get to the root of this matter, I can only say one thing: those who live by propaganda will die by propaganda.

“This is a matter of life and death and I was building up to something and I will say what I was building up to simply.

“Boko Haram has been defeated, Nigeria is now safer, everything that was being done to make sure that the hard work that was supposed to be done in securing Nigeria was not done because certain people did not do their work but preferred to cover the eyes of Nigerians with propaganda and trying to find all these excuses for non-performance have now come to stare us in the face.

“Mr President, Nigerians did not elect the Inspector General of Police, we did not elect the Chief of Staff, we did not elect the Joint Chiefs or the National Security Adviser.

“We elected the government of APC in 2015 and re-elected them in 2019. The reason we re-elected them is that they continued to tell us that they had the key to security.

“When you want to deal with a matter, you go to the head, so we will go to government and ask this government to resign because they can no longer do anything.”

At this point Lawan intervened and cautioned Abaribe not to be partisan in his contribution.

“Let me remind you once again that Nigerians voted for APC in 2015 and because they saw improvement in their lives they voted APC again in 2019. I don’t want to be partisan and I would advise against hate speech,” Lawan said.

On his part, Abaribe added: “In conclusion, I want to say that Nigerians voted a government into power and that government even said ‘if we don’t perform stone us’ we are going with the stones to stone them now…”

Again Lawan stopped Abaribe and said he has exhausted the allotted time to make his contribution.

Lawan added: “The situation in this country is such a serious situation that our debate should be towards ensuring that we are able to get solutions.”

In his contribution, Senator Abudullahi Adamu took exception to Abaribe’s call on President Buhari to resign.

Adamu insisted that the Senate President ought to have ruled that Abaribe should withdraw his submissions.

Adamu said: “There is no doubting the fact that we do face security challenges in this country.

“Anybody who says otherwise is only pretending but the fact that we have security challenges and the fact that we are in a democratic dispensation, and the fact that in the National Assembly, on the floor of this hallowed chamber, we enjoy some immunity.

“Mr President, if we do not approach this debate with the level of sensibility that it demands, we shall be doing more harm than good to this issue of national security.

“If we all stand up and talk about campaign pronouncements, manifestos presented by different parties, those accepted and those rejected, we will not have time to discuss what we are here to discuss.

“But for us to talk as if nothing is happening, it does not help the situation we are in. I believe that if government agencies have not been able to get us to the promised land, we should try to go into the nitty gritty of what their problems are.

“How do we help resolve what we have instead of outright condemnation and seeing nothing good and throwing the baby away with the bath water?

“The opening salvo by the Minority Leader where he landed and crash landed by saying he is going with stones.

“Stone in the spirit in which he made that contribution is a weapon. We cannot sit here as elder statesmen and be adding salt to injury.

“It is not within our duty to do so. I would have wished the Senate President did not to only tell the minority leader that the time allotted for the discussion was up but should have told him to withdraw the statement as a respect and that he is a man of honour to stand by the oath of office he took.”

Lawan had on Tuesday promised that the Senate would dedicate its plenary of yesterday (Wednesday) to debate the worsening security situation in the country and to proffer a way forward.

President Buhari had also on Tuesday expressed surprise about the growing violent crimes in the country and promised that his government would henceforth be harder on bandits.

Lawan had also said that the security architecture of the country is ineffective and fast deteriorating.

Senate Majority Leader, Senator Yahaya Abudullahi sponsored the motion titled: “Nigerian security challenges: Urgent need to restructure, review and reorganize the current security architecture.” The motion was co-sponsored by 105 other Senators.

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