Top 5 Face-Offs Involving Nigerian Senate In 2017
2017 has come and gone, but let a lot of memories are still fresh on the minds of the politically conscious minority.
Lots of drama that unfolded in the senate also made the year eventful.
Senate VS Babachir Lawal
2017 will be remember for the face-off between former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal and the leadership of the senate.
The battle actually began in 2016, but its major events were recorded in 2017.
Following the report of an adhoc committee of the Senate on mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East, the Red Chamber had on December 13, 2016 passed a resolution asking the President nto suspend and ensure the prosecution of Lawal.
The Shehu Sani – led committee revealed that Lawal’s company, Rholavision Engineering Limited, is one of the firms that benefited from inflated and phantom contracts awarded by Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) worth over N200 million to clear ‘invasive plant species’ in Yobe State.
Though Buhari was initially skeptical about taking disciplinary measures against Babachir, he suspended the SGF in April 2017, and later replaced him with Boss Mustapha in October.
Senate VS Customs’ Hameed Ibrahim Ali
On January 1, 2017, Nigerian Customs led by Comptroller General Hameed Ibrahim Ali effected a Federal Government’s policy banning the importation of cars through land borders.
That move was rejected by the senate which led to a long face-off.
The Senate, which heavily criticised the policy, claimed the ban will lead to a loss of 500,000 jobs and asked Nigeria Customs Service to immediately suspend implementation of the policy.
The senate then invited Ali to appear before it fully dressed in uniform.
But Ali initially refused to honour the invitation, which led to a messy face-off, with the lawmakers calling for his resignation.
However, Ali later visited senate president Bukola Saraki and House of Rep speaker Yakubu Dogara.
There was another face-off between the senate and Customs over new policy on payment of import duties on vehicles.
Customs had given car owners one month to pay duties for their vehicles — for those who had not done so– vowing to prosecute defaulters.
Customs later suspended the policy. Ali survied the sack threat and appears to have risen within the rank and file in Buhari's kitchen cabinet.
Suspension of Ndume
The lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District Ali Ndume, was suspended after he asked for investigation of allegations of importing a bullet proof Range Rover with fake documents involving the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
He also pointed an accusing finger of perjury against Senator Dino Melaye.
Ndume had on March 21, 2017, urged the Senate to investigate the allegation that an armoured Range Rover car reportedly worth $298,000 seized by the Nigeria Customs Service allegedly belonged to Saraki.
The lawmaker also called on the upper chamber of the National Assembly to investigate the certificate scandal involving Melaye.
Ndume was suspended for six months, instead of one year originally recommended by the ethics committee. He bit the pie of humility and was never heard since his return to the fold.
Dino Melaye’s alleged certificate forgery
Kogi West Senator Dino Melaye had it rough with his colleague Remi Tinubu, wife of the foremost leader of the All Progressives Congress leader -Bola Tinubu in 2016.
That face-off may have led to another – allegation of certificate forgery- suffered by Dino
On March 20, 2017, online news medium, Sahara Reporters alleged that the senator did not graduate from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) for his first degree, against his claim that he studied Geography in the prestigious institution.
The news medium also alleged that Melaye, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, bribed his Head of Department, who assisted him to forge his transcript.
Melaye denied the report, claiming he graduated from ABU in 2000.
He went on to institute a N5 billion libel suit against SaharaReporters for alleged defamation of character and wrongful accusation.
Melaye went on to record and post a video of himself singing ‘aje ku iya ni o je’ allegedely referring to Ali Ndume. That song broke the internet and the Senator went on to fight other battles seeking his recall in Kogi.
Senate VS EFCC Acting Chairman Magu
In December 2016, the Nigerian senate refused to confirm Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission after about five months after his nomination by the president.
The president re-nominated Magu in January 2017, but the year has ended and Magu is yet to be confirmed, still operating in acting capacity.
According to senate president Bukola Saraki, Magu’s rejection was prompted by a report from the Department of State Services (DSS) that the nominee lacks integrity to lead the country’s anti-corruption agency.
But the presidency appears to be bent on Magu, leaving him on acting capacity over 15 months after his nomination.
In December 2017, the senate said it no more recognizes Magu as the head of EFCC.