The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, made headlines recently when he abruptly left the Senate chamber during a discussion on the closure of Nigeria’s borders. This incident followed an encounter with the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, during which Ndume raised concerns about what he saw as procedural infringements within the Senate.
During a plenary session, Senator Ali Ndume, representing Borno South, used a point of order to bring attention to what he believed were violations taking place within the Senate. He expressed his concerns about procedural infringements occurring in the chamber. However, his remarks were interrupted by Senate President Akpabio, which is considered unusual in parliamentary procedures. Following this interruption, Ndume left the Senate chamber.
Senator Ndume’s Explanation
In an interview with BBC Hausa, Senator Ndume provided an explanation for his sudden departure. He revealed that the incident was related to his decision to leave during a discussion on the closure of Nigeria’s borders. During the session, Senator Kawu Sumaila proposed a motion he deemed urgent, calling for the closure of the border between Nigeria and Niger.
At first, there was a debate on whether the motion was indeed urgent. However, after Senator Sumaila presented his arguments, it was agreed that, given the security implications, the motion should be discussed.
Senator Ndume sought to clarify the importance of the motion to the Senate. He wanted to emphasize that the closure of the border was not initiated by the Nigerian President but rather during his tenure as the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This meant that the President had the authority to advocate on behalf of Nigeria regarding this matter.
However, during this attempt to provide clarification, the Senate President did not grant him the opportunity to address the issue. The incident took place during the time for the call to prayer, leading to Senator Ndume’s departure from the chamber. Unfortunately, his colleagues misconstrued his exit, and the media subsequently reported on it in various ways.
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