SENATOR Remi Tinubu, lawmaker representing Lagos Central senatorial district and wife of national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Bola Tinubu, has written a petition to the chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun against the senator representing Kogi West, Senator Dino Melaye.
Senator Tinubu also wrote a formal complaint of gross misconduct by Senator Melaye to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, alleging improper behaviour during the executive session of the Senate on July 12.
Remi Tinubu, in the letter dated July 18, 2016, stated that the letters were a formal complaint regarding the improper and harmful conduct of Senator Melaye towards her during the Senate session, adding that it was nothing short of a threat of physical assault and abuse against her
She described Melaye’s act as an affront to the Senate, the government and the party, adding that “for a party member to so antagonise and hector another APC member in this fashion places the party in disrepute and undermines the unity needed to accomplish the sober task of reforming Nigeria for the better.”
She explained that though the incident was no more news, she decided to lodge the complaint for record purposes and in the hope that the party would act to appropriately sanction Senator Melaye for his behaviour.
According to her, she was duly recognised to speak by the Senate President after Senator Melaye had spoken and berated some colleagues over their perceived roles in the judicial case involving the Senate leadership, adding that although she remained silent and attempted no interjection during his statement, Senator Melaye tried to abridge her rights as a senator by hectoring at her and interrupting her contribution.
“I cautioned him about the use of his language and the threats made, reminding him that other senators were there by equal right as he and represented their constituents.
“In a burst of apparent rage, Senator Melaye charged at me in what can only be seen as effort to physically attack me. The attack was only prevented by some respectful senators who moved to impede his path or otherwise block him from approaching.
“Senator Melaye hurled foul and vulgar language, what he said should never be heard in any public institution let alone the floor of the Senate. Denigrating me as a woman, Senator Melaye threatened to beat me on the floor of the Senate simply because I dared to express an opinion different from his,” she said.
In her letter to the Senate President, Senator Tinubu noted that a week had passed since the indecorous eruption by Senator Melaye and the Senate leadership had been silent and had not reacted to the threatening misconduct.
She formally submitted for the record that she objected to the reckless misconduct of Melaye, adding that what he did was completely unjustifiable and contrary to the established customs and norms that governed the behaviour of members.
Meanwhile, about 46 women rights groups, on Tuesday, asked the APC and the Senate President, Dr Saraki, to wade into the recent altercation between Senators Melaye and Tinubu by compelling the former to retract his abusive statements against the latter and apologise for his alleged obnoxious conduct against his colleague.
This was even as the groups, under the aegis of Legislative Advocacy Coalition on Violence Against Women (LACVAW), would hold a rally today against Melaye, over what they described as his verbal assaults of unparalleled crudity.
Speaking in Abuja, the chairperson, Board of Trustees of LACVAW, Dr Charmaine Pereira, said for the Senate to remain silent about Melaye’s conduct on the basis that it took place during a closed-door session would not only be ethically inadequate, but would also indicate complicity with the prevailing impunity against gender-based violence and discrimination.
Describing the verbal assault as an embarrassment, she said Melaye’s confrontation with Tinubu represented yet another occasion when the democratic values that ought to underpin women’s legitimate right to hold public office were undermined.
According to her, Melaye’s abusive language and threats constituted offences under the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015.
Meanwhile, Melaye, in an exclusive reaction to the Nigerian Tribune, said he had moved on after the incident.
In a text message response, he said “great men don’t dwell on issues. They act and move on. I have moved on, quote me.”
Melaye also apologised to the Senate at the closed session held by the lawmakers at the start of Tuesday’s sitting.
Sources at the session told the Nigerian Tribune that the Kogi lawmaker was asked to apologise to the Senate for divulging what transpired at the closed session during an interview.
Senators at the closed session were said to have expressed outrage at Melaye’s conduct, which they said was capable of bringing the Senate into disrepute.
The Kogi senator then rose to apologise to the Senate for his attitude.
“The Senate was unhappy at the outburst of the senator, especially at the press briefing which he addressed on the issue between him and Senator Tinubu. He was promptly asked to apologise to the Senate and he did.
“He rose to say he was apologising to the Senate for his conduct,” the source said.
In another development, women from Kogi West senatorial district of Kogi State, on Tuesday, expressed disappointment over the outrage of Senator Tinubu.
The women, who spoke with newsmen in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, urged Tinubu to learn from the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Dora Akunyili and other noble women around the world.
Speaking on behalf of the women, Funmilayo Olumodeji said they were disappointed with the manner Senator Tinubu carried herself in the Senate, saying she had failed to represent the women folk in the country.
Olumodeji also condemned the women that protested in Lagos over the issue, asking where the women were when an innocent woman preacher was killed in Kubwa.
The women asked external forces to stay off the legislators and allow them to perform their duties.