Southern Borno People Protest Ali Ndume’s Suspension At NASS

By Nuel Suji – Scores of prtesters from Borno South Senatorial District stormed the National Assembly yesterday in protest against the suspension of their Senator, Mohammed Ali Ndume by the Senate last week.
This is as hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the same senatorial district occupied the Unity Fountain Square Abuja also in protest against Ndume’s suspension, vowing to stay put until their senator is recalled back to the senate.
The Senate had on Wednesday last week as recommended by its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, suspended Senator Ali Ndume for raising allegations made against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki by an online medium over importation of N298million Jeep into the country without payment of required customs duty and Senator Dino Melaye over alleged first degree certificate forgery.
The upper legislative chamber in suspending Ndume, accused him of unnecessarily distracting the attention of the Senate on allegations based on rumours and not investigated by him before raising them on the floor of the Senate.
But the Southern Borno protesters who carried placards with different inscriptions, condemned the suspension in its entirety , declaring that Ndume, as far as they are concerned , did not commit any offence to warrant such suspension which to them, was illegal, undemocratic and self serving, shouting “Give us our Ndume! Ndume we need in NASS! Saraki is a curse to democracy!
  Addressing the press on the protest at the main entrance of the National Assembly blocked by the protesters, the National Chairman of Southern Borno People, Hon Musa Ali declared that the people of the Senatorial District would not allow their senator to be out of the senate for six months, which according to him, would be too unbearable for his constituents who have been benefiting and surviving from Ndume’s responsive representation over the years.
“We cannot allow our senator to be out for six months as annoyingly decided by the Senate last week. Where do the Senators want IDPs who have been surviving through Ndume’s magnanimity run to, What about these hundreds of constituents benefitting from the senator? Where do they want them to run to?
“Boko Haram insurgents pursued most of these people you are seeing away from their various homes in Southern Borno but have been getting needed assistance and support from their Senator, Ali Ndume, only for the Senate to now allow pursue their helper from his place of help (senate).  This to us is unacceptable and must be revisited by the Senate”, he declared.
A declaration he reechoed in a jointly signed letter with the Secretary of the group, Mohammed Ali Biu and forwarded to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki on behalf of people of Southern Borno Senatorial Zone.
The group in the letter also signed by representatives from the entire 9 local governments councils in the senatorial district, described Ndume’s suspension by the senate as an action too injurious for the people of the zone to bear and requiring urgent reconsideration.
The letter reads in part: ‘This action in our view is not only without basis in law, but quite contrary to the clear intendment of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); in that it seeks to deny the peoples of Borno South Senatorial District of representation and a voice in the upper chamber of Parliament, at a critical period when the National Assembly is considering the 2017 appropriation bill.
“Distinguished Senate President, we are of the view that you are quite aware of several judicial pronouncements by courts ofcompetent jurisdiction on issues of communal representation vis a visthe purported powers of Legislative House (especially the National Assembly) to suspend its members.
“We are also of the view that as in other similar cases, the suspension of distinguished Mohammed Ali Ndume would not stand the test of Judicial scrutiny, based solely on the conflict of such purported suspension with our constitutionally enshrined right to representation”.
Meanwhile, Borno citizens from the IDPs camp in Wassa, Abuja who joined in the protest vowed not to return back to the camp if Ndume is not recalled by the Senate.
According to their spokesperson, Kyellu Suleiman, a native of Pulka from Gwoza local government, the borno born IDPs will remain at the Unity Fountain Square where they joined other protesters in marching to the National Assembly if the suspension slammed on Ndume is not lifted by the Senate.
Though no member of the Senate leadership granted the protesters audience but the Senate yesterday largely as a result of the protest, went into closed door session for almost an hour before it’s plenary.


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