Senate In Rowdy Session Over Senator Abaribe’s Bill

There was confusion in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly over a Bill seeking the establishment of Armed Forces Service Commission.

The controversial bill sought to create a Commission that would advise and recommend to the President persons to be appointed as Service Chiefs of the Armed Forces.

The Bill is informed by recent clamour by the South East region which alleged marginalisation in the appointment of former and current Service Chiefs.

The confusion saw Senators taking regional, ethnic and political lines, as the argument got to the climax when some Senators opposing the Bill pointed out that the power of the presidency to appoint and fire the service chiefs would be undermined.

Those in support of the bill moved by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, called on their colleagues to act as Senators representing the nation and stop politicizing a straight forward issue.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the plenary, however, ruled against the Bill.

Meanwhile, the Spokesman of the Senate and lawmaker representing Osun Central, Senator Ajibola Bosiru, said the rancour noticed Wednesday on the floor of the Red Chamber “is a testimony of the maturity of our democracy.”

On the reason for the closed door session called for by the Senate President, Senator Basiru said it “was aimed at ensuring frank discussion devoid of political correctness.”

The Spokesman of the Senate said the Bill as sponsored by Senator Abaribe was “hotly debated inline with parliamentary processes.”

He explained that the insistence of Senator Abaribe for a division of the House to enable lawmakers to vote on the debate, was in order.

Abaribe had challenged the position of the Senate President who earlier ruled in favour of a ‘nay-vote’ by a section of the chamber.

An angry Senator Abaribe refused to take his seat, calling on Lawan to subject his judgment to a vote.

Humbled by the Abia South lawmaker’s statements, Senator Lawan appealed to the House to exercise restraints in the need for national unity.

Thereafter, the Upper Chamber adjourned sitting to Tuesday 23rd March, 2021.

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