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Senate turns down motion for Uwazuruike’s release

Posted by From ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2007/07/01 | Views: 581 |

Senate turns down motion for Uwazuruike’s release

The Senate on Wednesday approved that 15 persons be appointed as special advisers to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

•Approves 15 special advisers for Yar’Adua

The Senate on Wednesday approved that 15 persons be appointed as special advisers to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

The decision followed a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin requesting the Senate to consider the request of the president seeking approval for the appointment of the special advisers.

The motion was seconded by the Minority Leader, Senator Maina Ma’aji Lawan and it was unanimously endorsed.
However, the Senate forestalled what could have signaled the beginning of the move to secure the release of the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, when it turned down a motion seeking to impress it on the Federal Government to extend to him the olive branch given to Mujaheed Asari-Dokubo and Gani Adams, leaders of Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force and Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC).

In shooting down the motion, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, sustained the point of order earlier raised by Senator Iyiola Omisore to the effect that the Senate could not debate any matter upon which a judicial interpretation is pending before any court of law.

Mark argued that the Senate was the highest lawmaking institution in the country and therefore, could not be forced into taking a decision that could have serious negative effects on the system.
Said he: "I believe the best thing is to advise his lawyers (Uwazuruike’s lawyers) to go and seek bail for him in court. This is the highest lawmaking body in Nigeria and any decision we take will affect the system. So, I hereby uphold the point of order raised by Senator Omisore; consequently, I rule that the motion cannot be debated."

Omisore had raised order 53(5) of the Senate standing rule which precluded the Senate from debating an issue upon which a judicial decision is pending before a court of law.
The motion on Uwazuruike’s release was sponsored by Senator Uche Chukwumerije and 24 other senators, most of whom are from the South-East.

Specifically, the motion had sought to request the Senate to "commend the Federal Government’s policy of reconciliation with all aggrieved groups as a healthy way of lowering tension in the polity; that the Senate applauds Yar’Adua administration’s placatory handling of volatile youth groups as is evident in the release on bail of Asari Dokubo; and to request the release of Uwazuruike and other leaders of MASSOB as a logical extension of the government’s even-handed response to disaffected youths.
"And that the Senate urges our youth movements to appreciate the supreme importance of mediation, reconciliation and conciliation in nursing our nascent democratic culture to maturity."

Before the motion was struck out, Mark had asked Senator Chukwumerije whether he was aware that the matter was in court, to which Chukwumerije said: "I am not aware that the case is in any court and I challenge whoever said that the case was in court to prove it before the Senate."
The Senate President replied: "Well, if you don’t know that the case is in court, I am very much aware that the case is in court."

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