The former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said last week that the South-East Senate Caucus was silently working behind the scene to secure the release of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu, who has been in Department of State Service (DSS) custody since June 27, is standing trial for alleged treasonable felony and other allied charges at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
While the move to find a political solution to Kanu’s travail is on, we also tracked two other stories from the National Assembly for your reading pleasure.
Seeking political solution to Kanu’s travails
Senator Ekweremadu revealed on October 11 that South-East Senate lawmakers were working quietly towards securing Kanu’s freedom.
He had said at a lecture in Pretoria: “Let me also assure you that the South-East Caucus of the National Assembly is not resting on its oars. We are working quietly and surely to address these issues, including finding a political solution to the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu matter.”
Ekweremadu’s disclosure helps to ease insinuations that South-East leaders have abandoned the IPOB leader to his fate.
Their intervention is, no doubt, a clever strategic move as relying on the judicial process alone could lead to an unpredictable end, with great potential for further heating up the political space and creating larger cracks in the Nigerian union.
The double-barreled approach to securing Kanu’s freedom is, therefore, welcome but the lawmakers must also continue to mount pressure on the Federal Government to address the perceived marginalisation and injustices which gave birth to the secessionist movement in the first place.
Whether the lawmakers will succeed in their latest move remains to be seen considering the body language of the Buhari-led administration.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“Mr. Speaker, it would amaze you what I faced in the hands of Ghanaian officials. They detained me for about four hours; that they were trying to confirm something. I stayed at the airport for four hours, missed the wedding I went for and at the end of the day, one of them walked up to me saying, ‘Sorry sir, there is an announcement in Nigeria that a member of parliament is sponsoring terrorism and we are put on red alert to ensure that no member of parliament comes here to hide or cause trouble’. I had to come back home dejected?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
U-turn on e-transmission of poll results
The Senate on October 12 succumbed to public yearnings and embraced electronic transmission of election results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), where and when practicable.
The Senate resolutions followed the adoption of a motion: “Motion for recommittal” sponsored by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi.
It read as follows: “Relying on order 1(b) and 53(b), Senate Standing Order accordingly resolves to rescind its decision on the affected Clauses of the Bill as passed and re-commit same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and passage.”
The Senate’s volte-face has shown that power truly belongs to the people. For sure, the development will strengthen the country’s democracy and restore the people’s trust in the electoral system if eventually allowed to sail through.
It is also a wake-up call for the mobile network providers to improve their broadband capacity to help the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) perform its task without hitches.
Federal roads or death traps?
The Senate on October 12 asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on federal roads and as a matter of urgency, increase the budgetary allocation for maintenance.
The Senate resolution followed the adoption of a motion titled: “Motion on Nigeria’s bad roads and NUPENG’s impending nationwide strike,” sponsored by Senator Gershom Bassey.
Bassey, who led the debate on the motion, said: “The deplorable state of the federal roads in Nigeria has become a national shame and an unnecessary embarrassment as scores of innocent people are kidnapped by bandits, robbed, mutilated, and killed daily in avoidable accidents on account of bad federal roads.”
Bassey’s submission is not new. Nigerians have continued to express their displeasure over the worsening state of federal roads in the country.
The development calls to question the issue of accountability and queries how the federal government has spent the loans taken from multilateral lenders to fix the country’s infrastructure.
The upper legislative chamber must sustain the pressure on the Federal Government to repair the roads which have become more of death traps.
Answer: Hon. Ben Igbakpa
Igbakpa stated this while recounting his humiliating experience at a Ghanaian airport during the House of Representatives plenary on October 5.
He represents the Ethiope East/Ethiope West Federal Constituency of Delta State in the Green Chamber.
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