Senate Majority Leader, Senator AbdulAhmed Ningi has said his motion on the floor of the Senate condemning the plans by the Imo State Government to register northerners in the state was done in the national interest.
Reacting to an advertorial placed by the Imo state government in some major newspapers where he was accused of being lured to move the motion, Ningi said “At my age and as a ranking Senator in the National Assembly, nobody can lure me or push me to do anything against my wish. To be candid, that reaction was nothing but myopic and an after thought’’.
The Senator said one Faisal Lawal, a northerner and a senior aide to Governor Okorocha addressed the press on this issue and it was widely reported in the media and the social media. “Who is Faisal Lawal representing? Is it himself or the state government? I strongly believe they are not organized in that state”.
The Senate Deputy Majority Leader added that the issue at stake was not whether the plan was initiated by the northerners resident in the state or the government in question, my position and that of other Senators and millions of Nigerians alike was that the policy as announced by the state government through the Senior Special Assistant on Northern Matters was ill conceived and unconstitutional. We all know that the 1999 constitution guaranteed free movement of Nigerians from any part of the country to the other and right of residence without any inhibition. As such that policy is discriminatory and illegal”
“Brought the matter up because it’s a contravention of our constitution and we wanted to nip in the bud the after effect of that policy, it was an unjustifiable policy because of its catastrophic consequences he said’’.
Ningi pointed out that it was regrettable that instead of the Imo state government to keep its house in order, it resorted to wasting public funds to defend a policy one of its key officials told the world it was initiating.
He said he owed nobody any apology, and as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria he would always stand for the people irrespective of their ethnic or religious persuasions.
“They have forgotten that I have in the National Assembly stuck my neck for the people of Bakassi and the Niger Delta region, and let me state here that as a lawmaker if anything illegal that contravenes the constitution happens in any part of the country, I will rise against it’’.
The Senate leader regretted that the Imo state government’s reaction to his motion was an attempt to paint him in bad light, adding that it amazed him why they avoided several editorials and opinions on that controversial decision. According to him, he has known Governor Okorocha for over 25 years and as such his motion on the floor of the chamber that day was nothing personal.