Opposition lawmakers across party lines angrily stormed out of plenary Wednesday, chanting ‘Buhari must go’ as a demonstration of their displeasure over the worsening insecurity in Nigeria.
They similarly asked Senate President Ahmad Lawan to follow suit having shut them out from going ahead with their move.
But the federal government lauded the lawmakers’ concerns, saying it’s working round the clock to bring the situation under control.
Trouble started at the plenary Wednesday when Senate Minority Leader Philip Tanimu Aduda raised a point of order for the Senate to deliberate on issues discussed at the closed door session which lasted two hours.
The Senate President, had, after the closed door session, announced that issues relating to smooth running of Senate and unity in Nigeria were deliberated upon, but instructed the leader of the Senate to proceed with items listed on the order paper.
Miffed by the development, the minority leader raised a point of order, calling for deliberation on issues discussed at the closed door session.
“Mr. President, I raised this point of order to bring to the front burner, issues deliberated upon at the closed door session.
“Resolution made by all Senators at the closed door session which lasted for two hours, was to further deliberated on in plenary and arrived at resolution to give President Muhammadu Buhari ultimatum on urgent basis to stop the worsening security situation or face impeachment,” he said.
In a trouble shooting manner, Senate President Ahmad quickly interrupted him by saying his point of order fell flat on his face since he didn’t discuss it with him.
Thereafter, Ahmad instructed the leader of the Senate to proceed with items on the order paper.
Angered by the development, all senators across the opposition parties, led by Minority Leader Aduda, stormed out of the chamber chanting “All we are saying, Buhari must go, Nigeria must survive, Ahmad Lawan should follow ….”
‘Why we stormed out’
The protesting lawmakers, including Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC Bauchi North), later gathered at the Senate Press Centre to disclose what transpired at the closed door session.
Speaking on behalf of the Senators, Aduda said their anger was fueled by the refusal of the Senate President to follow resolutions taken by senators across party lines at the closed door session.
“We are here to tell Nigerians that as Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we are disappointed with the way the worsening security situation across the country is being handled.
“We held closed door session for two hours , where it was resolved that the issue will be deliberated upon in plenary with agreed resolution to give President Muhamnadu Buhari six weeks to address it or face impeachment by both Chambers of the National Assembly.
“Our walking out of the Chamber is to express our disappointment in the way the matter was later handled by the Senate President. President Buhari has been given all he wanted in terms of adequate funding of the security agencies but nothing to show for it . He needs to shape up or ship out,” he said.
In his remarks, however, Senate President Lawan said all senators were worried and concerned about the security situation in the country.
He said an emergency session may be held during the long recess if the need arises.
Aside all the PDP Senators who participated in the walk out, other Senators like Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA Abia South), Ibrahim Shekarau (NNPP Kano Central) and Francis Onyewuchi (Imo East ) etc , also joined.
Adeyemi on ultimatum to Buhari
Commenting on the walkout and ultimatum given to Buhari, an APC lawmaker, Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West), said the six-week ultimatum for the president to shape up or ship out over insecurity was a collective one by the senators across party lines.
Adeyemi, who made the clarification while fielding questions from journalists, said at the closed door session, senators across party lines expressed their worries on the rising wave of insecurity across the country and resolved to take required action in getting the president to sit up.
He said: “I think it is wrong to say opposition. It was a collective decision of the Senate to give ultimatum. The only difference from what the opposition are eventually saying is a matter of semantics.
“We say we are giving the President six weeks, they said they are serving impeachment notice, after six weeks we move, we come and sit down and start discussing the possibility of impeachment if the situation remains as it is.”
In a reaction to the lawmakers’ move, the federal government said efforts were on to arrest the growing insecurity.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said this Wednesday while fielding questions from State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by the president in Abuja.
He said there was no need for any ultimatum as everything was being done by the government to address the problem.
“Resolution passed by Senators, as rightly said, it was passed when we were deliberating. But we thank them for their patriotism and their concern, but we are working round the clock, 24 hours, to ensure that the situation is brought under control.
“I want to assure you that the president is aware of all these and as a matter of fact, I think tomorrow there’s going to be another Security Council meeting. So, it’s not a matter the president is taking lightly and like I’ll always say, some of the measures we are going to take are not measures that you can discuss openly here. But we’re as concerned as you are, we’re not going to abandon our responsibility,” he said.
The minister also described the reported threat by terrorists to kidnap the President as laughable and a mere propaganda.
“As to those who have issued threats to Mr. President, I think it’s more of propaganda than anything. It’s laughable,” he said.
Obasanjo weighs in
Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the nation’s situation of the nation is “beyond party politics and requires all hands to be on deck.”
Obasanjo said Nigeria had lost direction in nation building, saying: “As long as we don’t get it right in nation building, we cannot get anything right in this country.”
The former president spoke at Babcock University’s 20th undergraduate and 11th postgraduate convocation lecture held at the university’s Amphitheatre in Ilishan-Remo, Ogun state.
He said the situation in Nigeria had become so precarious that “no individual can say he or she has a solution to the problems.”