–Saraki hastens committees to submit budget reports
From Fred Itua, Abuja
As the Senate adhoc Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions ended sitting on the complaints against Senator Kabir Marafa, who awaits the report today, protesters stormed the National Assembly yesterday demanding that he should be left alone.
A group, Open Society and Good Governance Initiative, which organized the protest, coordinated by Emeka Ude, described Marafa’s planned suspension as anti-democratic. They came with placards
Addressing journalists, Ude said the proposed suspension would dent the image of the Senate. He said the plot was an attempt to prevent free speech among lawmakers.
He said: “Democracy thrives where there is fairness, Rule of Law, freedom of expression, among others. In a situation where the legislature is foreclosing the democtatic space, that is an invitation to fascism.”
He noted that Senate President Bukola Saraki should encourage others with contrary views instead of trying to suppress them.
Meanwhile, Saraki has ordered chairmen of the various standing committees to expedite action and submit their reports to the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee for further consideration.
Saraki, who gave the marching order during yesterday’s plenary, said there was no time to tarry, urging members to keep to the timetable.
He said: “I think as the Chairman of the Appriopriation has said they are ready to receive the reports and I am sure the timetable is out. Within this week, let us ensure that all committees submit their reports to the Appropriation Committee so that we can keep to the timetable and try as much as possible. I know we would try and ensure that time is available so that people can work on this report when we are still sitting in the plenary.”
Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, told his colleagues that committee heads must submit their reports within a week.
“Distinguished colleagues, remember last week I presented a written report of the budget and this Senate agreed to suspend plenary for one week and we have resumed today with the arrangement that today would be the beginning of the submission of reports by the various sub-committees,” he said.