Kangaroo committee suspended me – Senator Ndume

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A National Assembly member, Sen. Ali Ndume, said the Senate committee which suspended him on March 29, 2017 was a kangaroo one concocted by the leadership of the upper chamber.

Ndume, who represents Borno South Senatorial District, made this known at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, the committee that called for my suspension was not the committee saddled with such responsibility.

Ndume was suspended over his petition calling for investigation into the allegation discrediting Sen. Dino Melaye as a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

The suspension followed the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions which investigated the allegation.

“What I am doing is not really personal but as a beneficiary of the institution of the legislative arm of government. I have been there since 2003.

“It is my responsibility to do those things that are right in order to strengthen the institution.

“It has been very unfortunate that our institution had been diverted or derailed, not only in the legislature but also in the executive, and even the judiciary to some extent.’’

He said that when the leadership of the Senate “arranged’’ a committee to suspend him, the committee members were not even part of the decision.

“My suspension is now history. I went to court because that was wrong.

“I was not expecting any other judgment than what I got.

“As we say again, it is a kind of ego issue and the senate president and the institution have now been tailored to personality.

“If not, once the court says go and pay this man his money, they are supposed to pay me my money. But, that is not the important thing; I know that at the end of day it will come out.”

The lawmaker disclosed that the president of the senate and all the senators were aware that no senator could suspend another senator.

He pointed out that the president of the senate was only a presiding officer, who had no opinion, saying he could not have any opinion on anything.

“Once you agree to be President of the Senate, it means you have sacrificed your rights and privileges as a senator.

“My suspension was not the decision of the senate besides it being illegal, unconstitutional, and it is not even our standing order,” Ndume said.

He said that in the case of Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, who was also suspended at a time, the lawmaker was faster than him and was more aggressive than him.

“Omo-Agege filed a contempt case because he got a judgment where the court said he should be paid his allowances. So we see how it goes.

“I went to court in order to stop the abuse. Now, members are not expressing themselves; these things that are happening that have brought down the senate, it is not the view of most of the senators.

“The senate is not what it used to be. People can no longer express their opinion freely.

“Once they hand over the leadership to 10 people, in fact, one person, that person takes over the institution, personalises and privatises it.

“You see, people are not active, even the procedures on contribution of the national assembly have been distorted.

“In those days when you have your motion, you just go and give it to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business and once you register, the register is already there.

“But, these days, you can’t even be recognised to speak,” the lawmaker said.