From Fred Itua, Abuja
There was a mild drama, yesterday, in the Red Chamber between Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the senator representing Lagos Central, Senator Remi Tinubu.
The drama ensued during the debate of a motion “Nigerians involvement in illicit global drugs trade and increase in domestic drug abuse by Nigerian youths,” sponsored by Senator Gbenga Ashafa.
Tinubu had made an additional prayer to the motion and had urged her colleagues to mandate the Federal Government to set up drug rehabilitation centres in every state of the Federation. No lawmaker seconded her additional prayer. Saraki was about to entertain more contributions from other lawmakers, when Tinubu interrupted him. She asked: “Mr. President, why is my additional prayer not accommodated? Why is it not being considered, Mr. President?”
In his response, Saraki said no lawmaker seconded the amendment hence, he had to move on. Tinubu was still on her feet when Saraki ignored her and moved ahead to entertain other contributions. “We have gone past that. Let us move on,” he said.
That would be the third time, since the inauguration of the Eighth Senate that such drama would play out between Saraki and Tinubu. The first was on June 10, 2015 when Tinubu declined to shake Saraki’s outstretched hand after his controversial emergence as Senate President. The second happened on November 19, 2015 whenSenator Tinubu contributed to a motion from Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu’s seat. The action elicited negative reactions from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers. Apparently displeased, Saraki declined to accommodate her contributions while she was on the seat.
Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the Federal Government to restructure and reposition the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to enable it meet the challenges of evasive drugs traffickers, using Nigerians to traffic drugs.
It further urged NDLEA, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) and other relevant agencies to develop a collaborative approach towards curbing incidence of use and abuse of drugs in the country.
The Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics was mandated to consider an urgent amendment of Section 23 of the PCN Act to include the sale of prescription pills over the counter as an offence punishable by the act.