Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate has ordered the probe of an alleged invasion of a Federal High Court by agents and operatives of the Department of State (DSS).
Its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters mandated to investigate the claims, is expected to turn in the report within one week.
The position of the Senate followed a point of order raised by Michael Opeyemi Bamidele. Bamidele relied on Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules. The issue was not open to any debate.
The Committee which is headed by the sponsor of the motion, Bamidele, is expected to examine what led to the invasion and advice the Senate on its next line of action.
Already, the Federal Government has ordered an investigation into the last Friday’s invasion of the Federal High Court. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami made the revelation on Wednesday.
The DSS, in their bid to rearrest the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the February 2019 general election, Omoyele Sowore, had invaded the court, during which the judge reportedly fled the scene.
Explaining his point of order, Bamidele said the Senate can no longer pretend as if nothing happened. He said as representatives of the people, they must address concerns of the people.
He said members of the judiciary are worried. He said though the Senate can’t take a position until an investigation is carried out, the action must however be condemned.
He said: “It is a very crucial issue of which we cannot pretend. As elected representatives of the people, especially as chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, the reported alleged invasion of the courtroom by alleged officials as of the Department of State Services is one issue that has raised a lot of concern in different quarters in Nigeria.
“The leadership and members of the Judiciary are particularly concerned about this development. They believe, like the rest of us do, that the courtroom is meant to be a sanctuary
“For us as a Senate, we cannot begin to take position or analyse issues based on conclusion without facts that we consider incontrovertible. Yet, much as we cannot just jump into conclusion, is it also a fact that we cannot pretend not to know that Nigerians are not concerned about this development.
“I came under Order 43 so I do not generate any controversy.”
Bamidele had suggested that the Senate Committee on Intelligence and National Security should be mandated to handle the investigation.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan who presided, disagreed. Instead, he mandated Bamidele’s Committee to spearhead the investigation.
Lawan said: “Since this is a matter that affects the Judiciary, we rather mandate your Committee to find out what happened. I will suggest that our Committee on Judiciary and Legal Matters finds out what exactly happened and report back in one week.”
Few days after the upper legislative chamber hurriedly abandoned a confidence vote in its leadership, the Senate has said there is no cause for alarm.
Spokesman of the Senate, Godiya Akwashiki, told newsmen the suspension of the vote did not give credence to insinuations that there is a crack in the Red Chamber.
On Tuesday, 36 senators whose names were published in Order Paper as sponsors of the confidence vote motion, expressed displeasure that they were never consulted by the arrowheads of the project.
Disturbed by the development, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan who presided, jettisoned the move. No explanation was offered.
Explaining further on the development, Akwashiki said senators are strongly in support of its leaders. He said at the right time, the motion will be represented and the vote will be overwhelming.
He said: “There is nothing to worry about in the vote of confidence in the leadership of the Senate which was stood down on Wednesday during plenary. It is a vote of confidence and not a vote of no confidence.
“A vote of confidence is moved when members of a group are in support or in total agreement with the leadership. I see no big deal in the motion being stood down. I want us to exercise patience and wait for the day that the motion would be mentioned on the floor of the Senate.
“I won’t speak further on it because it is a vote of confidence. I would speak more if it was a vote of no confidence and the Senate president decided to use his power as presiding officer to stand down the motion.
“Those who are moving the vote of confidence are in total support of the leadership, so it is not a serious issue.
On the 36 senators comprising 25 APC and 11 PDP members, listed as co-sponsors of the motion, is a normal thing.
“All of us are in total agreement of the motion but we cannot all have our names in the motion. If all of us should put our names on the list, then it’s no longer a motion.
“Now that the motion has been brought before the Senate, every senator would have the opportunity to speak on it. The number of sponsors does not matter.
“The vote of confidence motion has nothing to do with any crisis in the Senate. There is no crisis. Our loyalty to the leadership is total and complete. It is even possible for two senators to move motion on vote of confidence.”