© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Three deaths in three weeks ― what’s happening at the National Assembly?
Sixty-three-year-old Mustapha Bukar, the senator representing Katsina North Senatorial District (where President Muhammadu Buhari hails from) at the National Assembly, has been confirmed dead.
Umar Bukar, his elder brother, confirmed that he died on Wednesday after a brief illness.
A first-time federal lawmaker, the late Bukar was Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market. His death brings to three the number of federal lawmakers who have passed on within the past three weeks.
UMAR BUBA JIBRIL
On Friday, less than a week ago, Umar Buba Jibril, who represented Lokoja/Kogi Federal constituency in the House of Representatives, died. The 58-year-old was also said to have passed away after a “brief illness”. He became infamous for sponsoring a controversial bill for regulation of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Jibril, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member, was Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives and a former Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly.
Also, roughly three weeks ago, the death of 58-year-old Ali Wakil, the All Progressives Congress (APC) senator representing Bauchi South Senatorial District at the upper chamber, was confirmed.
The incident happened at his Abuja residence on Saturday, March 17. He was dressed up and ready to travel to Yola, Adamawa State, to attend the wedding of Boss Mustapha’s daughter. But, before leaving, he had asked his wife to prepare a meal for him to eat, but he couldn’t.
According to Mohammed Sani-Abdu, a member of the House of Representatives, “she prepared porridge and brought it for him to eat. But, Wakil told her he wanted something light instead, like tea. She went back to get the tea only for her to return and find her husband slumped on the floor.”
In the 2017 budget of the National Assembly, the Senate allotted the sum of N247,082,400 for drugs and medical supplies, as well as N411,804,000 for medical expenses. The House of Representatives has similar budgetary allocations to cater for the medical well-being of members.
It is therefore astonishing to have three members of the federal legislative chambers give up the ghost in less than three weeks.
Back to Bukar’s death, the All Progressives Congress (APC) says it is mourning the death.
“At party level, we have indeed lost a dependable and loyal Party man who contributed immensely to the growth and strength of our great Party,” it said in a statement by Bolaji Abdullahi, its National Publicity Secretary.
“We extend deep condolences to his family, constituents, National Assembly, particularly the Senate, President Muhammadu Buhari and the government and people of Katsina State over the sad and painful loss. It is our prayer that the Almighty Allah grants the late Senator Aljannah Firdaus.”
In addition to the prayers, APC must surely be wondering what it must do to stem the tide of untimely deaths in the legislature.