Pro- Saraki senators on Tuesday commenced the process that will eventually lead to suspension of spokesman of Unity Forum Senators, Senator Kabiru Marafa over interview granted to National newspaper.
The process for Marafa suspension is coming at time when the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki is facing trial on alleged false asset declaration at Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Marafa who has been calling for resignation of Senate President had in interview sexpressed support for Former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the issues he raised in his recent letter to both chambers of the National Assembly, especially on the need to make the annual budget of the federal parliament, transparent and accessible to Nigerians.
However, at the resumption of plenary session on Tuesday after two weeks break, Senator Issa Missau (Bauchi South) who called the attention of the Senate to the interview in the newspaper expressed dissatisfaction with statement credited to Marafa in the interview.
The senator who came under matter of personal privilege, Missau, alleged that Marafa, by his comments, had infringed on his rights and that of others which should elicit an instant punishment from the Senate in order to serve as deterrent to others.
Misau urged the Senate to take a drastic action to caution Marafa, stating, “I will not allow anyone who enjoyed the 7th Senate to cause problem. It is not good that we allow someone to continue to tell lies against us.
Supporting the point of order, Senator Mathew A Urhohide (Edo) recommended sanction against Senator Marafa, urging the senate to take a drastic action against him based on his remarks.
Ruling on the motion, Senate President referred the matter to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, to investigate and report back next week Tuesday.
In his reaction, Marafa described the issue as a welcome development, and expressed his preparedness to appear before the panel.
Senator Ahmed Lawan who once contested against Saraki said, “As a Senate, as an institution, we should be more sensitive to the way we discharge our functions and mandates as provided for in the Constitution. That is to ensure probity, transparency and accountability in the utilization of public funds.
“We are to make good laws for the orderliness and good governance of this country. That we support the executive arm of government, that is the presidency in this regard to ensure that Nigeria move out of its current quagmire that we have found ourselves.
“If we are able to achieve this, or in fact if we become completely committed to doing this, our image before the Nigerian public will be such massive image that every Nigerian will support the National Assembly particularly the senate. I think at the moment, we are hypersensitive to what the public feels about us because an individual senator bares his mind on an issue.
“So I will advise the Senate that instead of spending so much time on how an individual senator could say something and rubbish the entire institution, we should rather take the bull by the horn and focus on our fundamental functions and mandates.
Also in his reaction, Senator Abu Ibrahim said, “My belief is that Senate is such a very high institution in the democratic environment in Nigeria that we should not start limiting ourselves to the fundamental human rights of free speech. That’s my fear.
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