Senate In Grief, Adjourns Plenary Over 44 Slain Soldiers
The Senate yesterday stood down all items on its order paper and suspended legislative duties till Tuesday in honour of 44 soldiers killed by Boko Haram in Borno State last weekend.
It also mandated its committee on army and defence to pay a solidarity visit to soldiers in the northeast, investigate the loss of troops and ascertain if personnel have adequate provisions.
The casualty figure according to reports excludes nine farmers killed during the three-day attack on some villages and a military camp. The resolutions were sequel to an adopted motion sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Bala Na’Allah and Senator Andrew Uchendu.
Na’Allah in his lead debate had made three prayers: the observance of a minute’s silence, the condolence visit and investigation. But Uchendu added that the Senate should adjourn sitting rather than merely observing the moment’s silence.
Still on the military, the vice chairman of the Senate committee on army, Senator Ibrahim Danbaba, claimed that the committee under the chairmanship of Senator George Akume has been inactive for over two years.
“In fact, the only thing the committee has done that can be said to be oversight was our visit to the army headquarters in 2016. Mr. President, the Senate is completely detached from the Nigerian Army. We in the Senate do not know what the army is actually doing.
“I want to say this again that there was a draft bill that was referred to the committee about two years ago; that bill is still lying down in the secretariat of the committee. This is because the leadership of the committee has not been able to give direction as to what to do with the bill,” said Danbaba.
He urged the chamber to direct its committee on ethics to investigate the conduct of the committee and why its leadership should be allowed to stand. He also warned that the alleged inactivity could bring the Senate to disrepute.
Senate President Bukola Saraki consequently directed Majority Leader Ahmed Lawan to discuss with the committee’s leadership and report back for further legislative action.