Fred Itua, Abuja
Plenary on the floor of the Nigerian Senate was disrupted Tuesday following a major technical hitch that affected microphones and other sound systems in the Red Chamber.
Trouble started when the Leader of the Senate, Yahaya Abdullahi, got up to move a motion that the plenary be adjourned over the death of a member of the House of Representatives, Jafaru Illiasu.
For over two minutes, the Senate Leader tried without success to use his accredited microphone. It didn’t work. Attempts by the technical unit of the Senate to fix the glitch did not work either.
Frustrated by the development, President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan, who presided, had to compel the Leader to use the microphone of another member, Barau Jibrin, despite the clear provisions of the Senate Standing Rules.
Section 11 (2) of the Senate Standing Rules states that “A senator may only speak from the seat allocated to him, provided that the President of the Senate may change the allocation from time to time.”
When it was the turn of the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, to second the motion, he left his accredited seat and opted for the same microphone used by the Leader of the Senate.
“There is no better time to renovate the National Assembly than now. We need to put this facility in place and upgrade it as soon as possible,” Abaribe stated while seconding the motion.
Worried by the protest from the lawmaker, Lawan pleaded for understanding, considering the situation, and that adjustments be made until something is done to remedy the technical issue.