See Why Senate suspended Ndume, and cleared Saraki, Melaye and others


Former Senate majority leader, Muhammed Ali
Ndume, has been placed on a six-month
suspension with effect from yesterday. But the
upper chamber absolved its President, Bukola
Saraki and Dino Melaye of allegations of
purchase of vehicle with fake documents and
certificate forgery.

When it was time to consider the report of the
Sam Anyanwu-led committee, Saraki, who had
been presiding over the session suddenly
stepped down from his seat to allow his
deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, preside over the
consideration of the report. The Senate
president said he could not preside over the
matter because it was his fate that was about
to be decided.

The sanction against Ndume is an indication of
disharmony among the lawmakers which could
hamper the making of laws for good
governance of the country. The upper chamber
said it suspended Ndume “for bringing 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 Senate also stated that it reached its
conclusion because having failed to cross-check
facts before presentation at plenary, Ndume
could not be said to be a patriotic
representative of the Senate, and should be
penalized to serve as deterrent.
Ndume’s suspension followed the adoption of
the report of the Ethics Committee of the
Senate which investigated the alleged purchase
of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) with inaccurate
customs duty payments by Saraki. The
Anyanwu-led committee also investigated the
alleged certificate forgery against Melaye.
The sanction against Ndume was arrived at
after an amendment was proposed and
adopted by the Senate that the initial
recommendation of 181 days suspension be
reduced. The report reads in part: “After
carefully examining the documents available
and hearing out the matter, the committee
observed that ‘the name of the Senate
President, Saraki was not mentioned anywhere
in the Bill of lading or any document
whatsoever connected with the importation or
purchase of the SUV Range Rover vehicle; that
he did not import any SUV Range Rover as
corroborated by all respondents.”

The panel also said it found out “that this story
was cooked up with intent to embarrass the
Senate President, the Senate and by extension,
the National Assembly. “The complainant
(Ndume) 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 (Ndume) was expected to have
weighed the consequences of the allegation,
carefully, investigated it before presenting it.”
Clearing Melaye, the committee submitted that
he obtained a first degree in Geography from
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Ekweremadu
said: “I believe that lessons have been learnt
from this and that going forward, we should
try as much as possible to investigate matters
before we make allegations or before we call
the attention of the Senate of the country to
those allegations. I do believe that the
committee has done a good job.”
Attempts to save Ndume from being suspended
were earlier defeated on the floor. Joshua
Ledani (PDP, Gombe South) moved a motion
that Ndume should simply be warned and
made to apologise publicly to Saraki and
Melaye. The motion was seconded by Ahmed
Abubakar Moallayidi (APC, Adamawa Central)
who said there was no reason to suspend him
in the first place.


When the question was put to vote, the motion
failed. Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo)
then rose to propose an amendment to the
original prayer of the report which
recommended 181- day suspension. He
suggested that it should be reduced to six
months.
The motion was seconded by Peter Nwaoboshi
(PDP, Delta North) and it was approved by the
Senate. Nwaoboshi in seconding the motion
explained that “Ndume is not just a first
offender. We took a decision on the secretary
to the government, he went outside and
maligned the Senate.
“When the report of the Department of State
Services (DSS) was read, he rose and started
begging that we should send Magu back to the
president to take a decision on him.
“Out of respect for him as a leader at that time,
this Senate obliged him. After that, he went out
to malign the Senate but he did not tell the
public that he was the person who begged us.
He even went further and said we should
invite him and tell him why we cannot. He’s
moving as a saint.”
Also yesterday, the lawmakers resolved to
investigate the alleged derogatory comments
made against them by the Chairman of the
Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-
Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, in his reaction to
the Senate’s insistence that President
Muhammadu Buhari should act on its decision
to disqualify the Acting Chairman of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
The Senate had on Tuesday suspended
consideration of Buhari’s nomination of 27
persons for appointment as Resident Electoral
Commissioners (RECs). It hinged its action on
the President’s failure to respect its decision
not to confirm the nomination of Acting
Chairman of the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, as
substantive chairman of the commission
In his reaction to the decision of the Senate,
Sagay was reported by a national daily to have
described the call on Buhari to sack Magu as
“childish and irresponsible.” He was also
reported to have stated that the Senate was
filled with people of questionable character,
who put their personal interest ahead of that
of the nation.

Adopting a motion by Deputy Senate Leader,
Bala Na’Allah, yesterday, the chamber referred
the matter to its committee on Ethics,
Privileges and Code of Conduct to investigate
the matter and report back within four weeks.
 



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