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Obanikoro: APC Senators Furious At Abaribe For Castigating Them

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – Angered by the alleged negative comments he made against them last week, the All Progressives Congress (APC) senators in the Senate, have called on the Senate to call Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs to order.

Senator Abaribe (PDP Abia South) had last week Wednesday in after the screening and confirmation of Mr Musiliu Obanikoro from Lagos State as Minister by the Senate lampooned the APC Senators for allegedly seeking to stop his confirmation saying that most of the APC senators also have pending cases against them before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and yet still enjoying their privileges in the senate.

He stated that it was wrong for anybody or group of people to convict anybody having case in the court of law on the pages of Newspapers through press briefings which according to him, is contrary to the Nigerian law   which presumes any suspect or accused innocent until proven guilty.

He said: “As a mater of fact, there are allegations against Senator Musiliu Obanikoro but in our law and the constitution of Nigeria, anything that is a mere allegation that is not a court decision is nothing but a mere allegation.

‘Everyone in Nigeria is deemed to be innocent until proven guilty and even the APC Senators who addressed the Press conference and spoke about the qualification or otherwise of Sen. Obanikoro are enjoying this priviledge because some of them have EFCC cases. and they are still in the senate because of this privilege of being innocent until proven guilty and so they cannot go to a press conference, and try to convict somebody when the person has not been convicted by a court of law”

But the Senate Minority Leader, George Akume took exception to Abaribe’s comment that those of them who kicked against Obanikoro ‘s confirmation as Minister by the Senate, also have cases in court and yet still enjoying privileges as Senators.

Akume who came under Orders 42 and 53 of the Senate standing rules to voice out the annoyance of the APC senators over Abaribe’s comments requested the Senate through the Senate President, David Mark to call him to order.

He said: “Actually, I rise to make a very brief comment on the event we had here last week. I want to say that as a family, we have been working very closely in the interest of the country. We were surprised that because of our disagreement over one of the nominees, the Senate, through the Chairman on information, went to the Press and said that we have no right whatsoever to question the confirmation of the nomination of Obanikoro because many of us have cases pending with EFCC.

” That was not what was discussed here. I want us to take very judicious notice of this. EFCC as I said here before when Lamode came here for confirmation that When the legislation was being debated on the floor of the Senate, that one of the principal officers of the Senate said it was intended to be used against recalcitrant governors and oppositions politicians. If that is what is being played out today, Nigerians know very well. I do not want us to castigate ourselves.

We are in a position to speak more on this because of the integrity of the Senate, which has refused to make comment on this.

“The Senate, through Abaribe cannot say that was what we discussed here. We have observed repeatedly that whenever Abaribe speaks, he speaks for himself. Mostly, he does not speak for the Senate. Mr. President, we are calling on you to call Abaribe to order. What he said has no basis whatsoever. If we want to talk about ourselves, we are free to say so”

However, the Senate President quickly interjected him by saying that his observation was noted and would be acted upon .

“Akume, I thought you made a point already that because of the Senate, you would not want to say much, you should not. So, I have noted your observation. Thank you”, he said.



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