Suspension of Ndume shocking, illegal —NBA chairman

CHAIRMAN, Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debt, Senator Shehu Sani, said former Senate Leader, Alhaji Muhammad Ndume who was suspended for six months by the leadership of the Senate, was fed by his own prescription.

Sani stated this in Abuja, on Thursday, on the sideline of a book presentation entitled: “Vindication of a General,”  written by Lieutenant General  Ishaya Bamaiyi (retd).

According to him, the senator in question had constantly in the House, promoted that the parliament was above individuals, thus, the action taken against him.

Asked if his suspension was justifiable, the senator, who expressed his reservations on the issue, said: “Well, as a civil rights activist, one who never restrain myself in my opinion, I will be the last to endorse any form of penalty to any person expressing his views.”

However, he pointed out that in the case of Senator Ndume, such matters ought to have be handled within the parliament and with decorum.

“Senator Ndume is not an ordinary senator but a ranking one who knows how it is, the laws of the Senate and how senators relate with one another. What he brought before the Senate gives the persons that were involved the opportunity to clear themselves and that was very good.

“But also, the issues that were tabled were also central to the reputation and integrity of the senators. So inasmuch as I have my reservations on his suspension, I think it is in the interest of the institution of the Senate and the government of the day and Nigeria as a whole that parliamentarians must behave with decorum and also must address their own issues with decorum because whatever happens in the parliament doesn’t stay with the parliament, it’s about the image of the government and also the image of the country.

Meanwhile, some residents of Borno State, on Thursday, expressed shock over Ndume’s suspension.

A cross section of those interviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, said the action was unfortunate.

Mallam Musa Walama, an iron bender, said the suspension was undemocratic, saying  “I was saddened by the news of Ndume’s suspension from the Senate, I kept thinking about the issue through out yesterday.

“It is really a sad development that the Senate has decided to suspend him for standing by the truth,” Walama said.

Mallam Muhammad Asheikh, a security guard, also condemned the suspension, saying Ndume was punished because of his openness on national issues.

“They said he was suspended for telling lies against the Senate President and Senator Dino Melaye but the truth is that the senators are not comfortable with his open fight against corruption and corrupt practice,” Asheikh said.

Mrs Grace Musa, a beancake seller, expressed optimism that Ndume would triumph against the Senate leadership in court.

“We learnt that he is heading to the court to challenge the suspension.’’

Other residents, who spoke to NAN, described the development as worrisome and an indication that the country’s democracy still had a long way to go.

Also, a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Minna Branch, Niger State, Mr Taidi Jonathan, on Thursday, said the Senate had gone beyond its authority on its decision to suspend Senator Ndume.

Jonathan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna, Niger State that the resolution was an abuse of the constitution.

“The suspension of Senator Ali Ndume is ultra vires under the powers of the legislature in the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended),” he contended.

According to him, Section 6 (6) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution vests powers to impose any sanction or punishment in the judiciary and to be exercised by courts of competent jurisdiction.

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