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The Nigerian Senate has suspended former majority leader Ali Ndume for six months for bringing unproven allegations against his colleagues Senator Dino Melaye and Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The move is one of the recommendations of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges which probed the allegations of certificate forgery against Melaye and avenging of seized bulletproof Range Rover against Saraki.
Tendering the report for approval before the senators on Wednesday, March 29, Senator Sam Nwanyanwu said the allegations brought against the two senators by Ndume were false after due investigation.
The report, which was signed by two-thirds of the committee, cleared Saraki and Melaye of any wrongdoing but suspended Ndume for failing to conduct proper investigation before making the allegations.
According to the committee, Ndume was the one that dragged Saraki’s name into the matter of the seized bulletproof Range Rover based on a false report he acquired from social media.
The report said Saraki’s name was not in any way tied to the seized vehicle and Ndume brought the position of the Senate President and the entire Red Chamber to disrepute by tying it to the matter.
Debating on the recommendations on Ndume, Senator Barau Jibrin said this would serve as a deterrent to other lawmakers.
He said:“This should stop. People should not bring trivial issues to the floor. I was really disappointed. Nobody should bring this kind of issues before us again.
“How can you bring matter from the social media that said our president was dead. That is an unserious place to pick things from.”
Senator Yusuf said: “Ali Ndume has done wrong to the Senate president, the Senate and Dino Melaye.
“But Ndume is first offender and rather than be fully suspended, he should be made to apologize to Saraki and Melaye in plenary, then be suspended from committees and not from contributing for his people in the senate.
“The people of Southern Borno will not forgive us for suspending their representative.”
Some senators succeeded in getting the House to reduce the initial one year suspension to six months. One of such is Senator Matthew, who argued that it is wise not to over-punish an offender.
He said: “I think suspending him for 181 is too long. That is already a calendar year. I would recommend just six months. I plead that the period be reduced.“