OrderPaperToday – Immediate past Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) was, on Wednesday, axed in a fierce power play with Senate President Bukola Saraki and his supporters in the Senate.
For daring to take on the Senate establishment, Ndume has been suspended for a period of six months by the Senate.
His suspension was based on his point of order that allegations against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Sen. Dino Melaye, over forged papers relating to a bullet proof range Rover and false degree claims respectively, be probed by the Senate as a matter of privilege.
Recall that Ndume, had last week, called for the investigation of Saraki and Melaye for allegedly dragging the Senate into a face-off with the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) over the range ranger impounded by the Service and certificate forgery allegation leveled against Melaye.
The matter was referred to the Senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions which conducted a hearing on Monday.
Reading the report of its finding at plenary, the committee chairman, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo), recommended that Ndume be suspended for 181 legislative calendar days which translates to about one year.
Anyanwu said: “This story was cooked up with the intent to embarrass the Senate President, the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly. The complainant did not conduct due diligence before bringing the matter to the floor of the Senate.
“As a former Senate Leader and a ranking Senator, he was expected to have weighed the consequences, of the allegation and carefully investigated it before presenting it.
“Having failed to cross-check facts before presentation at plenary, he could not be said to be a patriotic representative of the Senate, and should be penalized to serve as deterrent to others.
“After due consideration of the matter as revealed by different parties to the case, the committee recommends as follows.
“We recommend that the Senate do suspend Mohammed Ali Ndume for bringing Senator Dino Melaye, his colleague and the institution of the Senate to unbearable disrepute at this time of our national life, when caution, patriotism, careful consideration and diligence should be our watchword.
“The suspension is with immediate from today, 29th of March, 2017 to last for 181 legislative days.”
But proposing an amendment, which was carried by the Senate, Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo) suggested that the suspension period be reduced to six months.
He pleaded thus: “My colleagues, I want to suggest that we reduce the period of suspension for Ali Ndume. In December, he was the Senate Leader. Let us reduce it for him. I suggest that we reduce it a period not more than six months.”
The suspension takes immediate effect and will elapse on the 29th of September, 2017.
Instructively, Ndume was not on the floor of the Senate when the decision was taken by lawmakers.
The President of the Senate had excused himself from presiding during consideration of the report, leaving his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enough) to preside over the proceeding.
Senator Anyanwu-led Ethics committee, however absorbed the Senate President and Melaye of any wrongdoing in the allegations.