Senators mainly of the minority block and one All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker on Wednesday called for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari over the worsening insecurity.
They gave President Buhari six weeks to curb insecurity or face a formal notice of impeachment from them.
The Senators staged a walk out of plenary following Senate President Ahmad Lawan’s refusal to accede to a motion moved by Minority Leader Philip Aduda that the Senate should debate the cases of rising insecurity in the country.
The Senators, who briefed newsmen after walking out of the Senate Chamber, insisted that they had during their closed-door session, which lasted for two hours, agreed that they would deliberate on rising insecurity and give Buhari an ultimatum to either address insecurity or be impeached.
They expressed anger that Lawan refused to abide by their resolution to debate the issue of insecurity after reverting to plenary from the closed door session.
The lawmakers were chanting “All we are saying, Buhari must go!”
The Senators at the briefing including those of PDP, NNPP, APGA and one APC member.
Apart from Aduda, other Senators who walked out of the Senate Chambers and participated in the briefing include Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA); George Sekibo (PDP); Mohammed Bulkachuwa (APC – Bauchi North); Betty Apiafi (PDP); Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP); Nicholas Tofowomo, Francis Alimikhena (PDP), Adamu Aliero (PDP), Ahmad Babba-Kaita (PDP); Ibrahim Shekarau (NNPP); Matthew Urhoghide (PDP) and Istifanus Gyang (PDP).
Others are Francis Onyewuchi (PDP) Chukwuka Utazi (PDP), Biodun Olujimi (PDP); Akon Eyankeyi (PDP); Obinna Ogba (PDP); Ayo Akinyelure (PDP); Danjuma La’ah (PDP); Yahaya Abdullahi (PDP), Emmanuel Okar-jev (PDP); Uche Ekwunife (PDP), Clifford Ordia (PDP), etc.
Aduda (FCT) had protested the worsening security situation during plenary.
Rising under a point of order, which he did not cite, Aduda requested the chamber to give a six-week ultimatum to President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issue of insecurity or face impeachment.
Aduda said, “Mr. President, you may wish to recall that during the closed session, we discussed the issues as they relate to security in the country and all the issues around it.
“And we had also discussed that we are going to come back to plenary to discuss the efforts that have been made so far on the issue of security in the country, after which we give an ultimatum to the President that he resolves this issue, otherwise we give an impeachment notice.”
The Senate President, while ruling on Aduda’s point of order, faulted the minority leader for failing to put forward his request in accordance with the upper chamber’s rules which regulates its proceedings.
Lawan in his ruling said: “Minority Leader, when you’re going to come under a point of order, first, you’re supposed to cite the order.
“Secondly, you’re supposed to discuss with me what you’re going to raise on the floor. You didn’t.
“Thirdly, we have already passed that stage. So, at this moment, I really don’t know what the point of order is, as such it falls flat on its face.”
Following the comment by the Senate President, opposition Senators led by Aduda staged a walk out of the chambers during plenary.
The aggrieved opposition senators later addressed the Senate Press Corps and gave President Muhammadu Buhari six weeks ultimatum to address rising insecurity in the country and also implement all senate resolutions to that effect or face impeachment proceedings.
Aduda said: “We went into a closed session to discuss issues as they relate to security in this country especially the happenings in Abuja and happenings all over the country and we agreed that the primary responsibility of government is the protection of lives and property of citizens.
“For us the minority caucus in the Senate, we also took into cognizance the fact that the Senate had at various times convened various security meetings, various security issues were discussed and we did recommend to government various steps and measures aimed at curbing these issues of insecurity.
“We realise that even Abuja that we are in is no more safe and all of you will agree with us. So, at the close session we agreed that we will give the President an ultimatum that if it is not complied with we will move immediately to give an impeachment notice.
“This we agreed at the executive session. So when we came out of the closed door session. We had expected that the Senate President will brief the public on the issues that have happened but however it did not happen.
“So we have come here in protest to brief you (press) and to let you know that we are with Nigerians in this struggle and that we are worried that no where is safe in Nigeria and as such we have walked out of the chambers in protest that the security situation in Nigeria is deteriorating and urgent steps need to be completely taken to ensure that these issues are curbed immediately.
“These are the issues that were discussed and these are the reasons why we left the senate plenary in protest.”
On how soon the opposition lawmakers would formalise their impeachment threats against the President, Aduda said: “We have given six weeks notice within which the security issues should be resolved and all our resolutions should also be implemented. We have passed so many resolutions on what should be done about insecurity and we have given all the support to that effect.”
When contacted for his reaction, Senate spokesman, Senator Ajibola Basiru, insisted that the issue of insecurity concerns all Nigerians and therefore must not be politicised.
He said it was high time that National Assembly and the Executive collective seek solutions to the deteriorating security situation.
Basiru said: “They (opposition Senators) have not come up with a motion. For them to do that there must be a motion. The issue to my understanding, was raised at plenary.
“The unanimous consensus of the senators irrespective of party divide is that we should take the Executive to task as to the issue of insecurity and of course that relevant visitations and consultations should be taken as well as even consideration of possible impeachment proceeding against the President.
“But just as we resumed, even before the businesses of the Senate continue, the opposition decided to stage a walk out.
“But as far as all of us are concerned as Senators, we are concerned about the state of insecurity in the country and we believe that the President must be taken to task on it, but we don’t believe it is something we need to now make it a matter of politicking or partisanship.
“As much as the Executive has a role to play, I also believe that the legislature also has a role to play. There is a need to decentralise the security architecture of the country.
“It is high time we go back to state police because the argument against state police is that politicians people. That means they will oppress the political elites.
“But we have situation whereby even people who have nothing to do with politics are not even safe. Children cannot go to school, they cannot do their exams.
“So if you have to weigh on the balance of convenience, as to whatever mischief they said state police will do and the merits it will have in securing our country, I think it is better to take the risk of having a state police and then use the rule of law and human rights protection to address the possible abuse of state police.
“But as it were today, the Nigeria police is incapable as it is to secure Nigeria. The military are being drawn into what ordinarily are policing matter because of the inadequacy of policing.
“As at today in terms of ratio of police to population of Nigeria is grossly abysmal and as a Senator, I have sponsored bill on state police which did not even through the constitutional review committee schedule.
“There is also a bill to decentralize Nigeria police along zonal lines so that they can have operational and budgetary control over their zones.
“That bill has not been taken into consideration. So, rather than see it as a mere executive decision, as a National Assembly, there is also a role for us to play in taking the issue of security very serious and come up with legislative action that will give comfort to Nigerians in the area of security.
“But it is not something that we should be politicizing by just saying we a making a walk out without any practical suggestion on what to be done and without a concerted effort of all of us in the National Assembly irrespective of our political affiliation to take the President to task on the issue of insecurity in the country. It is a matter of collective responsibility rather than a partisan position.”
Also speaking to reporters on the issue, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC – Kogi West), insisted that the issue of giving an ultimatum to the President was a collective decision of the Senate.
Adeyemi said: “I think it is wrong to say opposition (gave the six weeks ultimatum). It was a collective decision of the Senate, to give ultimatum. The only difference from what the opposition are eventually saying is a matter of semantics.
“We say we are giving the President six weeks, they said they are serving impeachment notice, after six weeks we move, we come and sit down and start discussing.
“The opposition said we must give notice but we said it has to be six weeks ultimatum. They said after six weeks what happens? We said they should wait till after six weeks first. I don’t see any difference.”