Senate will start Jonathan’s impeachment process in two weeks – Jajere

Nigeria's Senate Chamber, otherwise known as the Red Chamber

Not less than 63 Senators have signed an impeachment notice prepared against President Goodluck Jonathan, Alkali Jajere, a senator from Yobe state has said.

Mr. Jajere, a member of All Progressives Congress, APC, told journalists Tuesday that the move to remove the president is gathering support in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senator said he was the fourth to sign the notice, and dismissed concerns over the action saying impeachment is not a crime.

“Definitely I have signed because there are impeachable offences against the president, complete breach of the constitution,” Mr. Jajere said after Senate sitting Tuesday.

“In 2011, this senate approved 140b as subsidy fund but the same government went to spend 1.7 trillion and that is a clear breach of the constitution, clear breach of the Appropriation Act which is the number one Act,” he said.

“And the business of any government is to protect the lives and properties of its citizens and this government has shown it is incurably deficient in handling security situations in this country, and whoever is heading this government should honourably resign without being impeached.”

Mr. Jonathan has come under intense criticism after police enforced a blockade of the National Assembly in November in an attempt to deny the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, access to the building.

The government says Mr. Tambuwal cannot remain speaker after defecting from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.

But the police siege has somehow galvanised opposition against the president, with some lawmakers in the Senate and the House threatening to remove him from office.

An impeachment will require two-third votes from both chambers.

Mr. Jajere, who is seen as the leader of the move, said lawmakers are prepared to follow the required steps to oust the president.

“There are issues that have triggered the National Assembly to do what it should do and no matter what the time it is a three-legged issue,” he said. “The National Assembly will have to initiate the process and then submit that process to the Judiciary. The Judiciary forms a committee by the CJN (Chief Justice of the Federation), then revert their findings back to the National Assembly and the National Assembly sits down and concludes the process.”

He said as of Tuesday, the required signatures to initiate the process were obtained.

“As of last week, 63 of us had signed up for the impeachment; my signature was the fourth but I can confirm to you that we have 63 signatures but after the session today two people had called and told me that they want to sign,” he said.

“Before the end of today I can assure you that the list will swell up to 70. It is on the impeachment day that we need two-thirds of the members to carry out the exercise but we need only one-third, which we already have, to initiate the process. It is just a matter of one day sitting. We will just push it before the two chambers.”

The Senate has adjourned for two weeks. But the matter will be tabled once lawmakers resume, Mr. Jajere said.

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