OrderPaperToday– President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and his colleague from Zamfara on Tuesday engaged each other in a war of words over perceived attempt by the former to shut the latter up from speaking on the state of insecurity in his State.
The exchange occurred on the heels of a point of order raised by Sen. Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi), concerning a suit filed by the Federal Government against him.
In contributing to the matter, Sen. Marafa proceeded to narrate events at a meeting he held with council chiefs last week, the conclusion of which suggested that the Adviser to the Government of Zamfara on Security was allegedly complicit in the insecurity plaguing the State.
Recall that Marafa had recently raised the alarm over his Governor’s threat to end his political career and that his life and those of his family were in danger.
Seeking to continue along same narrative on Tuesday, Sen. Marafa was however cut short by Saraki.
The President of the Senate interrupted and asked him to stick to the issues being discussed, saying “Distinguished Senator Marafa, with all due respect, I have tried to always accommodate you for these issues and I think we must not abuse these issues with your personal explanation. I am sure everyone here has issues to do with their State. So, what I appeal is that you should give us the summary of this issue and let us try and keep within those confines.”
The senator representing Zamfara Central would not bulge as he side-stepped Saraki’s caution, saying the reason he is at the Senate is to represent his people, and if he is not allowed to do that anymore, “I better resign and leave.”
He said: “But this is my constituency, this is why I am here, Mr. President I am representing people. My people are under siege. There is no way I can say this except here. This is why I am elected. If I cannot say this on this floor, I better resign and leave. There is just no point.
“How can somebody sit down as an official of the government that is being accused of masterminding these things? And Mr. President you say you don’t want to hear that? Mr. President you need to know.”
Responding to this, Saraki insisted that Marafa must stay in line for the red chamber to be guided in order to “be able to make a lot of progress.”
This appeared to have infuriated the Zamfara lawmaker as he accused Saraki of depriving Senators their privilege of making contributions.
He said: “You don’t allow members of the National Assembly to discuss anything, you don’t allow anybody to take it, and you don’t allow leaders to take action. Mr. President my zone is under siege and I would continue to say it on this floor of the Senate [and if] I am [not] allowed to do this, I will resign from this floor of the Senate and go.”
Saraki snapped back saying: “It is a pity that considering how strongly you felt about this matter, I noticed your absence at the security conference yesterday when your governor was there. It would have been a good opportunity for us to address it.”
He then referred the matter to the Senate ad hoc committee on security.