JUST IN: I cannot reverse Ndume’s suspension – Saraki

The president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has said that he has no power to reverse the suspension of the former Senate leader, Ali Ndume.

Mr. Ndume was suspended for six months last week after he asked the Senate to investigate media reports alleging that Mr. Saraki failed to pay requisite import duty for an SUV vehicle he imported.

He also requested investigation into reports that a Kogi state Senator, Dino Melaye, may also have not graduated from Ahmadu Bello University.

Both Senators were eventually cleared by the Senate committee on ethics and privileges. The committee also recommended the suspension of Mr. Ndume for one year.

Since the suspension, various groups have reportedly been meeting with Mr. Saraki to plead for the recall of the Borno south senator.

Governor Kashim Shettima had on Friday led a delegation to see Mr. Saraki on the matter.

Speaking to State House correspondents shortly after emerging from a meeting with President Buhari, Mr. Saraki said “I wish I have such powers”.

He said the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are just first among equals and cannot do anything that the two chambers do not want done.

He said all he can do is to report to the Senate what he discussed with the Borno governor and allow the Senators to take a decision.

Mr. Saraki also spoke about some of the issues he discussed with Mr. Buhari.

 

Source: Premium Times

No Legislative House Has The Power To Suspend A Member – Femi Falana

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, has stated that no legislative House has the power to suspend a member even for a single day.

He made the comment while addressing the Senate’s recent suspension of one of its members, Senator Ali Ndume, for allegedly bringing the House to disrepute, as well as the investigation and summoning of some of its members.

The Senate spokesman was quoted to have said that although the 1999 constitution does not exactly state that the Senate has the power to suspend a member, they have the power to do so based on the internal House rules.

In reaction to this, the senior lawyer stated that: “The Senate labours under the very erroneous impression that it can do anything, whether allowed by law or not; particularly when it purports to exercising its oversight functions.

“Allegations of crime, certificate forgery, allegations regarding under-payment of Customs duties, are criminal offences that can only be investigated by the appropriate authorities such as the Police.”

According to him, “Section 88, which the Senate always relies on, begins with the phrase: “subject to the provisions of this constitution”, which means the powers of the Police, the powers of the Auditor General of the Federation, the powers of the Attorney General of the Federation, the powers of the President, take presidence over the powers of the Senate to carry out an investigation.

“The Senate with profound respect, the House of Representatives with Profound respect, cannot investigate allegations of crime. That is within the constitutional province of the Police.

“In matters regarding some of the distinguished Senators, the court has made definitive judicial pronouncements. Take for instance, no legislative House in Nigeria, can suspend a member for one single day and we have a plethora of authorities on this,” he stressed.

Recalling a similar situation that occurred in 2010, Mr Falana said: “As a member of the House of Representatives, Senator Dino Melaye and 10 others, out of frustration, submitted a petition to the EFCC, alleging criminal diversion of funds by the Dimeji Bnakole-led leadership of the House.”

According to him, the Senators had claimed that the House had been terrorized and scandalized and despite the advice given by lawyers to allow the law take its course, as a petition had been sent to the appropriate agency of government, they still refused to take their hands off the case.

“Dino Melaye and 10 others were suspended indefinitely. I went to court for them and the court said: “Under your own rules, you cannot suspend a member for more than 14 days – Under what law did you suspend these 11 members of the House of Representatives for an indefinitely period of time?”

Mr Falana said subsequently, the court ordered an immediate reversal as well as the reinstatement of the senators.

He gave another instance involving the indefinite suspension of a member of the Bauchi House in 2012.

According to him, she was the only female and Christian in the House, consisting of 31 members and her suspension came as a result of a contribution she made, which the men considered as an ‘infra dignitatem’.

The case was however raised in court after a letter written to the House was ignored and the law was properly examined by the High court as well as the court of Appeal.

“Relevant constitutional provisions were now determined by the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal ruled that no legislative House has the power to suspend a member even for a single day,” he stated.

 

Source: Channels TV

Group gives senate 48 hours to rescind Ali Ndume’s suspension

Some constituents of Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, have protested against the decision of the upper legislative chamber to suspend him.

This is just as a group called the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) issued a 48-hour ultimatum to rescind the suspension or face legal action.

On Wednesday, the upper legislative asked Ndume to stay off the red chamber for six months to serve as a disciplinary measure for “embarrassing” Bukola Saraki, senate president, and Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west.

Ndume had moved the motion for the probe of Saraki, who was accused of importing a vehicle with fake customs documents and Melaye, alleged to have forged his first degree certificate from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

The senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions had cleared Saraki and Melaye.

On Thursday, youth in Biu local government area staged a solidarity protest, saying the country had been held to ransom by a few people.

Junaid Maiva, one of the protesters, challenge President Muhammadu Buhari to take charge and not allow people make him “look helpless”.

“I am still wondering how some few individuals would hold Nigeria to ransom and it seems the president is helpless,” Maiva said.

“Mr President must now interfere with the affair of the senate. His I don’t care attitude towards the affairs of the senate is what is responsible for this.”

Buba Ten-Ten, another youth, described Ndume’s suspension as the height of injustice.

He expressed worry that Melaye had not be suspended his actions on the floor of the senate.

“Nigeria and the world are watching this. These set of people holding Nigeria to ransom should know that they have only 17 months left,” he said.

“We are yet to know how Ndume went wrong. What is his crime? The senate ethics committee did not suspend Dino who harassed his co-colleague on the floor of the house. They did not also suspend him for calling our senator a Boko Haram sponsor.

“This is the height of injustice, we therefore call on President Buhari to stand up and defend our senator who has done nothing wrong. The north-east is suffering from the strangulating insurgency and our only hope who has stood firmly to defend his people is Senator Ndume. We say no to this madness.”

On his part, Muhammad Midala, said though he was not celebrating Ndume’s suspension, this development should serve as a lesson.

“I have always told him the truth but he feels we don’t know anything. In 2011, my life was threatened over my support for Ndume. They even offered me N15 million when I was his political associate but I refused,” he said

“After his election he made me to write a list of some physically-challenged persons from our constituency but he refused to help them. Now see what is happening to him. I am not celebrating, but this should serve as a lesson to him.”

 

Source: The Cable

UPDATE: Senate suspends Senator Ali Ndume for 6 months.

Senator Ali Ndume has just been suspended for 6 months by the Senate over Senator Dino Melaye’s certificate & Senate President Saraki’s SUV allegations

The Committee made the recommendation after its investigation on the certificate scandal of Senator Dino Melaye and the bulletproof scandal of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

It said Ndume did not perform due diligence when he raised the allegations on the floor of the Senate last week.

The committee gave the following recommendations:

1. Suspend Senator Ali Ndume and notes that dilligence should be the watchword.

2. The Suspension starts today, 29th Match, 2017 to last for 191 Legislative days.

3. The signed report is laid before the DSP.

BREAKING: Senate To Suspend Senator Ali Ndume Over Saraki, Dino Allegations.

The Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges on Wednesday recommended the suspension of a former Senate Leader for 181 legislative days.

This is contained in the Committee’s report laid before the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The Committee made the recommendation after its investigation on the certificate scandal of Senator Dino Melaye and the bulletproof scandal of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. It said Ndume did not perform due diligence when he raised the allegations on the floor of the Senate last week.

 

Source: YNaija

Senator Ndume Calls For Investigation Of Saraki, Melaye Over Forgery Scandals.

Senator Ali Ndume on Tuesday called for an investigation into Senators Bukola Saraki and Dino Melaye over allegations of Customs documents forgery and university certificate forgery, respectively.

Mr. Ndume was prompted to call for the investigation after the scandals were revealed.

An investigation revealed on Saturday that Mr. Saraki had his bulletproof Range Rover SUV confiscated by Nigeria Customs Service officials in January 2017 because he had forged the duty payment document and end-user certificate required for importing the vehicle.

On Monday, it was revealed that Mr. Melaye forged his graduation certificate from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU).

Remarking that the scandals were insulting and embarrassing to the Senate, Mr. Ndume called on the ethics committee to investigate the embattled senators.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, presiding over the Senate in the absence of Mr. Saraki, who is facing separate corruption charges at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), subsequently referred the matter to the ethics committee. The committee will report its findings to the Senate within the next four weeks.

Senators speaking anonymously to reporters, however, doubt that the ethics committee will indict the two senators, as the committee is populated by their close political allies.

 

Source: Sahara Reporters

President Buhari can re-nominate Magu for confirmation as EFCC boss – Ndume

The Chairman Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, says President Muhammadu Buhari can re-present Ibrahim Magu for confirmation as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the Senate.

He said the president, having earlier cleared Magu based on a report by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami should go ahead to stand by his conviction that the Acting Chairman of EFCC committed no infraction contrary to the allegations leveled against him by the DSS.

Ndume stated this in an interview on a television station yesterday. He said his support for Magu to continue to head the EFCC was not because he had any personal interest in him, but because of the need to sustain the momentum on the anti-corruption battle he has been fighting.

He also faulted the voice vote employed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki which led to Magu’s rejection, contending that the Senate president in line with tradition should have differed voting on Magu to another legislative day after he had been screened.

Ndume lamented that the rejection of Magu by the Senate was premeditated, wondering why it had to write to the DSS to demand for an advisory on Magu just a day to his scheduled screening.

“As a Senate, our job is limited only to confirmation of nominees. We are not supposed to investigate anybody. We are not supposed to be a court. The tradition is that if there is a nominee before us, Senators from that state will take a position and that is the first hurdle.

Ndume lamented that the All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to intervene on the issue of Magu by calling for a meeting of the party’s Senate caucus, a reason he said there was a disconnect among its members in the Senate on the issues at stake.

 

Source: The Guardian

Ndume Advocates Improved Allocation For Northeast Intervention

The Senate Committee Chairman on Finance, Ali Ndume, says the Federal Government’s 45 billion naira allocation in the 2017 budget for intervention in Nigeria’s Northeast is not adequate.

Senator Ndume, a member of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI), made the observation after the PCNI visited the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa.

The group’s visit was to declare its donation of food items which were offloaded at the warehouse of the National Emergency Management Agency in Maiduguri.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the international community; and I have said this even on the floor of the National Assembly that the contribution of the international community and its commitment to the humanitarian crisis we have in the northeast is more than that of the government.

“We are now calling on the government using this medium to at least take the lead or match what the international communities do,” Ndume said.

The senator noted further that foreign aid and commitment to the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have continued to dwarf government’s effort over the years.

“So far the humanitarian response plan under what we call UNOCHA is budgeting $1.05 billion for 2017 (and) if you turn that into Naira, it translates into over 300 billion Naira.

“As at December last year, $449 million was donated by the international community; that also represents about 130 billion Naira.

“Unfortunately last year, the Nigerian Government budgeted only 12 billion Naira. In this year’s budget, it budgeted only 45 billion Naira (and) that also is grossly inadequate.

“So we ask the Borno State government to join us and other members of the National Assembly that are crying out to the government and to the leadership of the National Assembly to increase the budget for the intervention in the northeast from a paltry 45 billion Naira to at least 108; that is our call.” Senator Ndume stated.

Mr Durkwa, on his part, thanked the PCNI for the food donations which he said would go a long way in complementing the feeding of the IDPs.

He, however, urged donors to consider providing building materials in subsequent interventions to speed up the resettling process of the displaced persons.

“We say we are grateful and we ask for more. Now that we are in the post-insurgency stage, it’s time to now carry out constructions and resettle our people back to their base.

“That means we expect more apart from the food security. We are still asking for building materials to complement the effort of the state government,” the deputy governor stated.

The Borno State government is presently carrying out rebuilding of homes destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorists in Bama, Gwoza, Konduga and Kaga local government area of the state.

Ndume’s trial: Court adjourns hearing till March 27.

The Federal High Court, Maitama Abuja, on Thursday adjourned the trial of Sen. Mohammed Ndume, charged with  allegedly sponsoring Boko Haram activities, till March 27.

Justice Gabriel Kolawale adjourned the matter at the instance of the prosecution.

In his ruling, Justice Kolawale said: “The prosecution’s motion on notice dated Jan. 13 is adjourned till March 27 for hearing and adoption of address on no-case submission.”

The judge, however, said that hearing in the application would no longer be adjourned as “this is the second time the application is adjourned.”

At the resumed hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Mrs G.N. Okafor, told the court that there was a pending motion filed and dated Jan. 13, before the court.

Okafor said that on the last adjourned date, the court asked the prosecution to pay a penalty for filling the motion out of time, “but the penalty is yet to be paid.”

She told the court that she went to the finance department, but discovered the money was not given in spite approval.

“There is a letter to confirm that we have made necessary arrangements in the court and I will be asking the court for an adjournment to enable us to pay,” Okafor said.

The defence counsel, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), however opposed the application for adjournment sought by the prosecution on the ground that the prosecution did not have a time frame within which the payment would be finalised.

Tarfa urged the court to strike out the application filed by the prosecution in order to continue with the trial.

It will be recalled that Ndume was arraigned in 2011 on a four-count charge bordering on allegedly sponsoring the violent Boko Haram sect.

The offence contravenes Sections 3(b), 4(1) (a) and 7(1) (b) of the Terrorism Prevention Act.

 

Source: NAN

Senator Ali Ndume gets new role.

The president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday created two more standing committees to oversee Sustainable Development Goals and Federal Road Maintenance Agency, and replaced the leadership of three others.

 

Mr. Saraki, just before the Senate adjourned plenary on Thursday, named former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, APC-Borno, chairman of the committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, replacing Abba Kyari, now appointed chair of the committee on defence.

 

The chairmanship of the defence committee was vacated by Ahmed Lawan, who replaced Mr. Ndume as the Senate Leader.

 

George Sekibo, PDP-Rivers, was named the chairman of the committee on interior. Mr. Sekibo returned to the Senate in December after he won in the December Rivers legislative rerun polls.

 

The two new committees on FERMA and SGDs are to be headed by Attai Aidoko, PDP-Kogi, and Mr. Abe respectively, Mr. Saraki announced.

 

According to the website of the National Assembly, the Senate had 67 committees before the creation of the ones of SDGs and FERMA yesterday by Mr. Saraki.

 

Source: Premium Times

Boko Haram: Court adjourns Senator Ali Ndume’s trial

Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday adjourned hearing in Mohammed Ndume’s trial till February 2.

 

Mr. Ndume represents Borno South in the Senate and was recently removed as senate leader.

 

In his ruling, Justice Kolawole ordered the prosecution to pay cost for filing an application out of time. At the resumed hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Chinyere Emezina, told the court that there was a pending motion filed and dated January 13 before the court.

 

Ms. Emezina urged the court to hear the motion in order to continue with the trial.

 

The defence counsel, Rickey Tarfa, however, did not oppose the application, but rather urged the court for cost for the late filling of the motion.

 

Mr. Ndume was arraigned in 2011 on a four-count charge of allegedly sponsoring the violent Boko Haram sect.
The lawmaker has denied the charges.

 

The offence Contravened Sections 3(b), 4(1) (a) and 7(1) (b) of the Terrorism Prevention Act.

 

Source: NAN

Full List of 39 APC senators that signed letter removing Ndume as Senate Leader.

Thirty-nine All Progressives Congress Senators signed the letter demanding the replacement of Ali Ndume with Ahmed Lawan as the Senate Leader, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

The ruling party has 63 members in the 109-member Senate.

The letter – with list of those who appended their signatures – was captured in the Senate’s votes and proceedings of Tuesday, approved on Wednesday.

The letter titled ‘Notice of Vote of No Confidence/Change of Leadership’ was read by Senate President Bukola Saraki shortly before the Senate adjourned on Tuesday.

Mr. Ndume, who said he was removed because his disagreement with Mr. Saraki over the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said the letter sacking him was read while he was out of the chamber to observe afternoon prayer.

The Borno lawmaker has since accepted his exit and thanked his colleagues for giving him the opportunity to lead them.

The ruling APC has also commended Mr. Ndume while supporting the emergence of Mr. Lawan.

On Wednesday, Senate President Bukola Saraki told reporters after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari that there was no crisis in the Senate despite Mr. Ndume’s removal.

“Everything is calm, solid and fine,” he said.

See the full list of the APC Senators who endorsed Mr. Ndume’s removal below

Full List:

  1. Dino Melaye, Kogi West;
  2. Ibrahim Abdullahi, Sokoto South;
  3. Francis Alimikhena, Edo Central;
  4. Suleiman Nazif, Bauchi North;
  5. Donald Alasoadura, Ondo Central;
  6. Benjamin Uwajumogu, Imo North;
  7. Mustapha Bukar, Katsina North;
  8. Rafiu Adebayo, Kwara South;
  9. Jibrin Barau, Kano North;
  10. Baba Garbai, Borno Central;
  11. Usman Nafada, Gombe North;
  12. Kabiru Marafa, Zamfara Central;
  13. Olugbenga Ashafa, Lagos East;
  14. Tijjani Kaura, Zamfara North;
  15. Suleiman Hunkuyi, Kaduna North;
  16. Ubali Shittu, Jigawa Northeast;
  17. Shehu Sani, Kaduna Central;
  18. Magnus Abe, Rivers Southeast
  19. Aliyu Abdullahi, Niger North;
  20. Umaru Kurfi, Katsina Central
  21. Abubakar Yusuf, Taraba Central;
  22. Joshua Dariye, Plateau Central;
  23. Ibrahim Gobir, Sokoto North;
  24. Shaba Lafiagi, Kwara South;
  25. Isa Misau, Bauchi Central
  26. Babajide Omoworare, Osun East
  27. Yahaya Abdullahi, Kebbi North;
  28. Kabiru Gaya, Kano South;
  29. Ali Wakili, Bauchi South
  30. Ahmed Yarima, Zamfara West;
  31. Sabo Mohammed, Jigawa Southwest;
  32. Ahmed Lawan, Yobe North;
  33. Olarenwaju Tejuoso, Ogun Central;
  34. David Umaru, Niger South;
  35. Abdullahi Gumel, Jigawa Northwest
  36. Monsurat Sunmonu,  Oyo Central;
  37. Binta Masi, Adamawa North;
  38. Danjuma Goje, Gombe Central; and
  39. Rabiu Kwankwaso, Kano Central.

“After My Removal, Ekweremadu May Be Next” – Ndume

Former Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Ali Ndume, has said the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, may be the next to lose his leadership position in the Senate.

Ndume, who was sacked by the All Progressives Congress caucus in the Senate on Tuesday, made the claim during plenary on Wednesday while decrying the way he was removed.

He said, “ If today, just like that, without telling somebody and he goes out ( is removed ) … If it is Ndume today and he goes out, it may be, God forbid, Ekweremadu tomorrow,” he said.

Although Ndume accepted the decision of the APC lawmakers to remove him as Senate majority leader and thanked them for the opportunity giving to him , he insisted that he wasn’t given a fair hearing by the lawmakers .

He said this was more so because he had attempted to resign from the position for the sake of unity among the lawmakers thrice before his removal.

Ndume, along with Ekweremadu, who is of the Peoples Democratic Party, and Senate President Bukola Saraki had emerged as leaders of the Senate contrary to the wish of the All Progressives Congress.

His claim hints at an attempt to remove all of them. This is more so as he was replaced by Sen. Ahmed Lawal, who had been the party’ s preferred candidate for Senate President

“I was praying when I was removed” says Senator Ali Ndume

Ali Ndume, former majority leader, says he was slyly removed from his position.

Ndume said he had left the chamber to pray and handed over to Bala Na-Allah, only to return in 10 minutes to find out he had been ousted.

“I was leading the business of the senate and when it was 12.45, as usual, I asked my deputy to sit in for me while I go to pray,” he said.

“On coming back, I discovered that the session was over and one of your colleagues [referring to journalists] approached me and said ‘leader, what happened?’ I said ‘what happened?’ And he said I had been removed.

“I didn’t know that there was change of leadership because I was not there. I went for prayers and I didn’t know what actually happened and I cannot say much than this.”

Ndume’s removal was announced on the floor of the senate by Bukola Saraki, senate president, who read a letter from the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus.

“This is to inform your excellency and the senate that after several meetings, upon due deliberations and consultations, the APC caucus of the senate hereby wish to notify you of the change in the leadership of the senate. The new senate leader is senator Ahmed Lawan, representing Yobe north,” Saraki said.

Ndume and Saraki took opposite sides when the senate declined to confirm the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). While the senate, led by Saraki, declined to confirm Magu, Ndume told the media that this was not the case

Lawan, the new majority leader, said: “I did not see it coming but with God nothing is impossible.

“Our colleagues in the APC caucus decided to effect the change. I thank God and my colleagues for the privilege giving to me. I will do my utmost best to ensure that the Senate continues to work for the benefit of Nigerians.”

Fresh Trouble Brews As Ali Ndume Insists He Remains Senate Leader

Trouble appears to be brewing in the Senate as Senator Ali Ndume who was Tuesday removed as the leader of the senate insist he maintains his position in the upper legislative chamber.

 

The senate had Tuesday removed Ndume and appointed Senator Ahmed Lawan representing Yobe North in the Senate as the new senate leader.

 

Ndume described as laughable, the report of his removal as the Senate leader, insisting he still remain the leader of the Upper Legislative Chamber.

 

Ndume, in a press briefing on Tuesday shortly after the news of his removal broke, said he is unaware of his removal by the APC Senate Caucus.

Boko Haram has taught us unforgettable lessons – Ndume

The Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, has said people from Boko Haram affected areas have learnt unforgettable lesson, realised their mistakes and would never allow such to happen again.

Mr. Ndume, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) in Yola on Saturday, said that affected communities who were forced to leave their villages and towns are now anxious to return home and were ready to fight back.

NAN reports that Mr. Ndume was in Yola , where he visited thousands of Internally Displaced Persons mostly from Gwoza and other local government areas from Borno in some IDPs camps at the outskirts of Yola.

“We have suffered a lot and our people have learned a lesson from this ungodly crisis. We will never allow such barbaric act to happen again, our eyes are open now.

“Our people are ready to fight back now to reclaim the remaining of their villages and towns as well as their freedom of living with one another in peace and dignity,” Mr. Ndume said.

He said the lasting solution for Boko Haram insurgency was to take the fight to their hide out and wipe them out completely.

He explained that most of the IDPs camps he visited in Adamawa were willing and anxious to return to their respective ancestral homes.

He said that relief materials worth million of Naira were distributed to the IDP’s, adding that the visit was with a team of top officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

On the rejection of about $30 billion presidential loan, he said the Senate did not reject the loan, but want the executive arm to attach all necessary documents to enable the Red Chamber go through and approve.

On the ongoing fight against corruption by President Buhari, he said the development was a winnable war.

“I am confident, at the end, President Muhammadu Buhari and the country are going to win the war against corruption,” Mr. Ndume said.