The Senate has suspended its former majority Leader, Ali Ndume over allegations made against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Kogi State lawmaker, Dino Melaye.
This followed a report by the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges on its findings with regards to the allegations.
Chairman of the committee, Samuel Anyanwu, said that it was proven that the Senate President had no hand in the importation of the said SUV, as was attested to by the importer of the vehicle as well as the car dealer from whom it was bought.
Similarly, it was proven that Dino Melaye actually graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, contrary to the allegation against him.
Following the findings, the committee recommended that Ndume be suspended for “191 Legislative days.”
“Ndume being a former Senate Leader failed to conduct proper investigation before his allegations,” Anyanwu said.
Supporting the committee’s recommendations, Jibrin Barau, senator from Kano State noted that “When we see anything against another Senator, we must bring it to the floor of the Senate before making hurtful statement.”
But senator Yusuf Abubakar urged the lawmakers to tamper justice with mercy, saying “as a first offender, Ndume should be suspended from committee activities and not outright suspension.”
Abubakar agreed that Saraki, Melaye and the institution of the senate had been ridiculed but noted that “Ndume relied on what was carried on the papers.”
He said rather than suspend him, the Senate should ask him to apologise to the Senate President and Melaye.
Senator Mathew Uroghide also pleaded with the Senate to reduce Ndume’s suspension to six months.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who had taken over from Saraki prior to the consideration of the committee report, said that lessons should be learnt from the whole scenario.
“Going forward we should investigate matters first before drawing conclusions,” he said.
He then put the matter to vote and majority voted for Ndume’s suspension to be reduced to 6 months.
Ndume had during the Senate plenary last week, drawn the attention of the members to a report in the newspapers linking Saraki to an illegally imported armoured SUV which had been seized by the Nigeria Customs Service.
The report claimed that the Senate President was taking his revenge for the seized vehicle on the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, with whom the Senate has been engaged in a face-off.
Ndume said that the allegation against Saraki should be investigated, along with the accusation by a news website, Sahara Reporters, that Dino Melaye did not graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as he claimed.
According to the former Senate Leader, the integrity of the Senate would be undermined if two of its ranking members have huge allegations on their neck and nothing was being done to find out the truth.