By Christiana Ekpa with agency report
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi yesterday told journalists the reason why the suspended former Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, has not yet returned after the lawmakers’ recent two-month recess.
The Senate was reacting to questions on the whereabouts of the lawmaker who was suspended a few months ago.
The Senate had suspended Ndume for requesting for investigation of allegations of importation of a bullet-proof Range Rover with fake documents involving Senate President Bukola Saraki and that of perjury involving another colleague, Dino Melaye.
The Senate reached the suspension decision after its resolution to uphold the recommendation of the committee on ethics and privileges chaired by Samuel Anyanwu.
He was suspended for six months, instead of the one-year reportedly recommended by the ethics committee.
Anyanwu, whose committee convened the investigative hearing on the two matters reported that Mr. Ndume ”failed to conduct a proper investigation before making the allegations.”
During the investigative hearing, Ndume had told the committee he did not make the allegation or raise a petition against the duo of Mr.
Melaye and Mr. Saraki but only raised the issues, ”having read them in the newspaper.”
Despite his defence, his colleagues wielded the big stick.
Sabi on Tuesday at a press briefing in the Senate Press Centre in the National Assembly said the suspension period of Mr. Ndume ”is not yet over.”
“By virtue of the resolution which took effect on 29th March, 2017, lasting 190 legislative days; the Senate resolution 130, he was suspended. What it means, practically, is that his suspension is for 190 legislative days. With the information from the managers of this Senate, we are expecting distinguished Senator Ali Ndume to resume on the 13th of November, 2017.”
“This is bearing in mind that the date changes if the federal government declares public holidays.
For example, if the federal government declares 2nd of October as a public holiday, the date will change to 15th,” he said.
He further explained that ”the computation for the legislative days is guided by the rules of the Senate and that Rule 13 explains the numbers of days that the Senate meets which will make the calculations for Ndume’s resumption easier.”
He said that Mr. Ndume would return after serving out his punishment.
Despite pleas by prominent Nigerians including the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, members of the Borno State caucus in the National Assembly and traditional rulers, the Senate rejected calls to reinstate the lawmaker who also said he would not apologise for his actions.