Senate moves against top anti-Saraki senator, Kabiru Marafa

FILE PHOTO: Most seats empty as Senate President Bukola Saraki enters the chamber

The Senate, on Tuesday, referred a member representing Zamfara Central, Kabiru Marafa, to its Ethics and Privileges Committees, accusing him of smearing its image through a “false” newspaper publication.

The senators said Mr. Marafa defamed the image of the Senate and misled the public in a report published by Punch.

Mr. Marafa, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, from Zamfara State, has been a critic of the senate president, Bukola Saraki, whose emergence as the senate leader he opposed.

Senators, who back Mr. Saraki, have in the past called for sanctions against the lawmaker for his often defiant stance.

On Tuesday, Isa Misau, an APC member from Bauchi State, raised a point of order, expressing anger over Mr. Marafa’s latest newspaper interview.

Mr. Misau said he “struggled very hard” for 11 years to become a senator, therefore, he could not tolerate any attempt to ridicule the Senate.

“I am a person who struggled very hard to be here. I think the leader has to do something about this,” he said. “We cannot allow one person to continue to tell lies. Not only Marafa but anybody misleading the public.”

In the February 7 publication, Mr. Marafa called on Mr. Saraki to resign to face trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged false declaration of assets.

He said if Mr. Saraki refused to step down, and other senators failed to demand his resignation, then Nigerians should recall all senators.

“At the moment, the image of the Senate is not worth anything in the eyes of Nigerians because of the attitude of its president, who ordinarily should have resigned in a sane clime,” he was quoted by Punch as saying.

“However, if the senate president refused to resign and neither the leadership nor the entire senate mount any pressure on him to do so, then we would call on Nigerians to recall all their representatives in the senate because we have failed in our responsibilities.

“We have tried enough for him. We can no longer wait and watch someone who is answering criminal charges in court to come out of the dock always to preside over the affairs of the senate.”

His call came after the Supreme Court ordered Mr. Saraki to stand trial.

Mr. Misau said Mr. Marafa’s comments breached his privilege as a senator.

Another senator, Matthew Uroghide, from Edo State, said Mr. Marafa’s actions and utterances were unacceptable and should not be treated with levity.

“It took 11 years for Senator Misau to get to the senate; it took me 23 years. For one senator to think and act in a manner that will reduce my person is totally unacceptable.

“If anyone has read that interview, you will know it is an issue that we must look at very dispassionately. There were things that have no basis.

“If anyone is there to misguide the public, it should not be at the expense of this chamber,” Mr. Uroghide said.

Subsequently, the matter was referred to Ethics and Privileges Committee to report back in one week.

Mr. Marafa, who was not in attendance during the deliberation, could not also be reached by phone.


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