Saturday 1 April 2017

Senate Should Be Shut Down - Director Muslim Rights Concern, Professor Akintola

Director Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Professor Ishaq Akintola has called for shut down of the Nigerian Senate. In a statement that was released on Friday he said that the polity had witnessed several incidents in the past few weeks due to apparent deadlock in the relationship between the executive and the Nigerian Senate.

He said Nigerians were traumatized by the development as the Nigerian Senate had turned itself into a hydra-headed monster with its jaws wide open to swallow up the Nigerian social order.

He said “Though it has been denied, the threat allegedly made by Senate to shut down government appears real. Senate’s body language indicates it is all out for war with the executive. It is parliamentary rascality at its worst. We can no longer trust the eighth Senate. It is capable of doing anything. The Nigerian people must strike while the iron is hot. We must shut down Senate before it shuts down government. First, the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, was rejected twice by Senate. Nigerians were quick to conclude that the senators were unwilling to stomach a man who would not make concessions to lawmakers particularly since many of them have pending cases of fraud. In the second instance, Senate suddenly bared its fangs and summoned Hammed Ali. The red chamber insisted that the customs chief must appear in customs uniform. It was later revealed that a bullet proof SUV car illegally brought into the country was at the root of the matter. Thirdly, Professor Itse Sagay, a respected constitutional lawyer was summoned by Senate for criticizing its actions. This is indubitable evidence of Senate’s determination to silence critics. Very soon they will start serving summons on journalists and poor market women. The Nigerian Senate has also been ruthless in dealing with dissenting voice within the hallowed chamber. Senator Ali Ndume was suspended for six months merely for voicing opposition to Senate’s recklessness. This is another red signal. A few powerful senators are perpetrating oligarchic dictatorship in the red chamber. Nigerians must rise before this powerful but self-serving oligarchy descends on other patriotic and progressive senators in their midst. This Senate will not tolerate free speech. It is out to strangulate the democratic process. Senate is gunning for parliamentary totalitarian dictatorship. It must be stopped before it is too late. A fourth example has occurred in Senate’s refusal to screen people nominated as commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Yet screening of nominees is the statutory responsibility of lawmakers. Does Senate want carpenters and taxi drivers to come forward to perform this legislative duty? How then do we explain a situation whereby senators refuse to perform their duties? We hope we are communicating with Nigerians and we hope the masses can read between the lines. Senate appears to be telling the executive arm: ‘Play ball or …’ There is no other word to use for this than ‘armtwisting. We want Nigerians to compare Senate’s ruthlessness in dealing with both external (Professor Itse Sagay) and internal critics (Senator Ali Ndume) to the red-carpet treatment it gave the senate president on the imported car scandal and the kid’s-glove treatment it gave Senator Dino Melaye on Dinogate. The Nigerian Senate has declared war on the Nigerian people. Nigerians must wake up from their deep slumber before it is too late.”

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