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No apology, senators Aliyu and Tsuari tell colleagues… Senate president pledges access to information

Posted by By JACOB EDI and Bashir Umar, Abuja on 2005/04/27 | Views: 548 |

No apology, senators Aliyu and Tsuari tell colleagues… Senate president pledges access to information


The position by two senators that people who rigged elections and committed criminal offences are in the senate nearly caused an uproar in the upper house Tuesda; some senators demanded an apology. But senators Nuhu Aliyu and Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri insisted that there was no going back on their position.

The position by two senators that people who rigged elections and committed criminal offences are in the senate nearly caused an uproar in the upper house Tuesda; some senators demanded an apology. But senators Nuhu Aliyu and Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri insisted that there was no going back on their position.


In fact, Tsauri told a bemused Senate that four senators who did not win elections are sitting in the nation's highest law making body. He, however, did not name them.
Senator Aliyu' s words:


"I want to state categorically that I have no regrets over the statement I made last week. If anybody felt offended, he is free to come and say the statement was referring to him.

I am a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police. I said I was suprised to see people who didn't win elections in the National Assembly. Those I arrested, detained and questioned are still in the National Assembly. I say people of questionable character should not be allowed to find their way into the National Assembly."


As he spoke, Senator Uche Chukwumerije cheered, in agreement with his submissions. Indeed, Chukwumerije shook hands with Aliyu after his submission, apparently congratulating him.
Taking exactly the same position, Tsauri, added:"I still maintain that some of us came here as a result of malpractices. There are four senators here who came as a result of malpractices. Riggging is the order of the day."

Joining them, Senator Daniel Sarror said the fact of the rigging of the 2003 elections has become common knowledge. "Every Nigerian knows the election was faulty. It produced results that are not worthy anywhere. This is common knowledge and everybody knows," Sarror said even as he was booed by some of his colleagues.

Trouble began when Senator Tokunbo Ogunbanjo raised a point of order seeking that Nuhu Aliyu and Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri be punished for what he called defamatory statements capable of bringing the upper house into disrepute.

Efforts by the Senate president, Ken Nnamani, to prevent the matter from re-echoeing failed as some senators insisted that the matter be discussed.
Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora observed that there were no absolute rights and privileges as one ends where the other begins.

Senator Abubakar Dansadau asked that the issue be pushed aside, arguing that since the point of order was not raised when the two senators made the statement, it should not be discussed.
But Senator Kanti Bello held that whatever the two senators had said should be considered their personal opinion which they were entittled to.

In her contribution, Senator Daisy Danjuma said she saw nothing wrong with the comments made by the two senators. "There is nothing wrong in what he has said.Let's not castigate him. What we are saying is let the discussions on the INEC bill be done correctly. We are serving Nigerians who want responsible people to hold public offices," Danjuma said.


Just as the debate was beginning to raise tempers, Senate leader, Dalhatu Tafida, quickly jumped to the day's order paper to commence proceedings, saying the issue be discussed at a closed door session. Senate president cautioned that members should be careful how they choose their words."If you say rigging, stick to it and if you say malpractice, say so," Nnamani said.

Meanwhile, Senate president, Ken Nnamani has pledged to Nigerians that henceforth, the Senate will not conceal any official information deemed necessary for public consumption, no matter its gravity and/or the personality involved.

Declaring open the first public hearing on the Freedom of Information Bill by the Senate Committee on Information at the Senate chambers Tuesday, Senator Nnamani vowed: "We cannot keep information trapped in officialdom if we intend to be competitive in the globalizing economy."

Believing that freedom of information is necessary, the Senate President posited that "without information, we cannot translate aspirations for prosperity and good governance into reality", pointing out that information is now a huge income earner for the developed and developing countries.
Giving an indication that the Information Bill before the Senate may get a smooth sail at the upper chamber, Nnamani said, "we will brainstorm and come up with a blueprint to guide the passage of the bill."

Dwelling on the necessity for good governance in relation to information access, he said "we know that economic development depends largely on the quality of institutions that coordinate political and economic interventions by the state and private actors and the quality of institutions is measured by their degree of transparency and accountability..

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.