“You don’t allow members of the National Assembly discuss anything,” Senator tackles Saraki

Bukola Saraki
Senate President Bukola Saraki

A senator, Kabir Marafa (Zamfara Central) on Tuesday accused Senate President Bukola Saraki of preventing members from expressing themselves at the Nigerian senate.

The senator levelled this accusation on Tuesday after Mr. Saraki asked him to go straight to the point as he narrated an issue relating to security in his home state of Zamfara.

Mr. Marafa had started by explaining how he was invited to a meeting of his state’s council of chiefs in Kaduna, and how an aide to the state governor was allegedly a principal actor in widespread breach of security in the state.

He said the security situation in Zamfara was not being reported because the state does “not have strong voices.”

Mr. Marafa said the Emir of Zamfara, who is the chairman of the state’s council of traditional rulers, said at the Kaduna meeting of the council that “about 5,000 women, including underage girls, were raped and molested” in the state.

Following the lengthy narration, the senate president interjected and asked the Zamfara senator to give a summary of the issue he was raising.

“Distinguished Senator Marafa, with all due respect, I have tried to always accommodate you for these issues and I think we must not abuse these issues with your personal explanation.

“I am sure everyone here has issues to do with their state, I think you should summarise that but now you are going into details where people are being accused. So what I appeal is that you should give us the summary of this issue and let us try and keep within those confines,” he said.

But Mr. Marafa, who was clearly not happy with the senate president’s lack of interest in his narration, said:

“Thank you Mr. President, but this is my constituency, this is why I am here. Mr. President, I am representing people. My people are under siege. We are saying that 5,000 women who are raped and molested.

“Mr. President, this senate needs to know, this senate needs to lend its voice to the plight of these people. There is no way I can say this except here. This is why I am elected. If I cannot say this on this floor, I better resign and leave. There is just no point.

“When I first said this, you said my personal safety is of your concern. How can somebody sit down as an official of the government that is being accused of masterminding these things? And Mr. President, you say you don’t want to hear that? Mr. President you need to know.”

Mr. Saraki, in a bid to clarify his statement, urged the senator to report the issue without “some details that would not help us in going forward.

“Give us the summary of the reconciliation so that I can now guide accordingly because you came under personal explanation, which there cannot be any debate. So I want you to give me a summary of what happened and then from there I can be guided.”

Mr. Marafa, who was already angered by the senate president’s comment, then accused Mr. Saraki of not letting members express themselves.

“I have given you the summary, the summary is two: the chief adviser of the governor is the principal accused and the government disbanded all organisations for these people to protect themselves. From that day, criminals roam my constituency with rifles. Nobody can defend themselves in Zamfara.

“I was also told that then we had 70 military officers but now we have more than 1,000 and nothing is being done. It is going on every day, people being kidnapped. This senate needs to ask some questions.

“If these military men are not answerable to the governor or they are disobeying him, the governor needs to say it so that this senate or the federal government can take a position. It is just not enough to keep the blame on the door step of the federal government.

“You don’t allow members of the National Assembly to discuss anything, you don’t allow anybody to take it, and you don’t allow leaders to take action. Mr. President, my zone is under siege and I would continue to say it on this floor of the senate. Unless I am allowed to do this, I will resign from this floor of the senate and go,” he said.

Mr. Saraki therefore called on the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, to “take note” but frowned at Mr. Marafa for being absent to take up the matter at the just concluded National Security Summit that the senate held in Abuja and which was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

“I am happy that the Leader of the Senate who is the chairman of the security ad hoc committee is here. It is a pity that considering how strongly you felt about this matter, I noticed your absence at the security conference yesterday where your government was there.

“It would have been a good opportunity for us to address. Be that as it may, Leader (Mr. Lawan), please take note of these issues because I know that you can invite these security agencies and look into the matter,” he said.


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  • Gidi

    Herein lie the problems of Nigeria. Zero leadership. What the senator is describing is important to the quality of laws that need to be passed to fix some of the problems bedeviling this country?

    Perhaps a quick suggestion to the senate leadership, how about creating a rule that will allow each senator to come to the floor of senate and give a speech on any subject that affect their constituency? The entire senate chamber don’t have to sit for the event, but at least broadcast it on Senate TV for them to view it for the record. The senate leadership don’t have to attend, but they can delegate someone to preside over the matter.

    Encouraging open debate leads to better policy making. We need more story or issue like this to be enter into public record for future analysis and better policy and law making.

    • sadiq charles

      Good Suggestion. Senate take note. Just define the rule of such sitting strickly, if not, they will impeach the leadership at such sitting.

    • Gbola

      Imagine !!

      If this Senator can’t detail worrying & concerning-issues affecting his constituency, what then can he discuss ??

      Saraki basically told him to summarise it and that he’s not interested in details- NOT EVEN AN OUNCE OF SYMPATHY !!

      And these are people we expect to Propose Bills.

      How can a Bill be proposed to tackle issues when the all the Senate President is interested in is “SUMMARY”.

      May God save Nigeria.

      • shasha

        Ameen. o boy return back to your hut in Africa apology to Trumps

    • Yego V

      Dino will only show up to dance.

  • thusspokez

    “I am happy that the Leader of the Senate who is the chairman of the security ad hoc committee is here. It is a pity that considering how strongly you felt about this matter, I noticed your absence at the security conference yesterday where your government was there.

    Obviously, the crocked Saraki is not aware that the senate floor gives senators more freedom to speak and in details. The difference between speaking in a public forum and on the senate floor is that Mr. Marafa couldn’t name names in the former but could in the latter where he has immunity from prosecution on what he says.

    • Pawa2

      Come on, be fair. The man wasn’t even at he security meeting. As much as I am not really a fan of Saraki, I think he handled the issue correctly and should be praised for not showing annoyance in the face of unwarranted and direct accusation by Marafa.

      • thusspokez

        The man wasn’t even at he security meeting

        Was it compulsory for Mr. Marafa to attend? And when did public forums become a space or venue for senators to perform their jobs?

        • Pawa2

          It may not be compulsory for him to attend but it seems very expedient given the seriousness of his concerns. Why did the other people attend? Is it because they did not have other places to perform their jobs? In any case, Mr Marafa was not prevented from doing his job, he was only advised to avoid unnecessary comments and mentioning names of people who were not there to defend themselves. I know you will not agree with me but that is my take.

          • thusspokez

            Why did the other people attend?

            You have to ask them that. It was not compulsory for all senators to attand.

            I am sure that you have your office where you conduct business. Mr Marafa’s office is the senate. What seems to be the problem?

            was only advised to avoid unnecessary comments and mentioning names of people who were not there to defend themselves.

            It is called ‘parliamentary privilege’ (or words to that effect) used all over the world to enable legislators to discuss issues freely without fear of any law suit by people who might take issue with them.

          • Pawa2

            I already know the way you reason, so I am not surprised by your response. To let you know, however, ‘parliamentary privilege’ does not mean you can unnecessarily accuse people or engage in slander. Your responses show you don’t even understand my argument.

          • thusspokez

            I already know the way you reason

            Don’t flatter yourself, I myself can’t be sure that I do, how could anyone else? You may have one way of reasoning; mine is multiple and fluid.

          • Pawa2

            Can you clear off now!!

        • Ajayi Ifayemi

          It was a public meeting hosted by the senate about an issue he is passionate about. I thought he said he was representing his people. Senate forums have their advantages, but a public forum also has its place.

          • thusspokez

            You should read the earlier discussions under this thread to avoid repeating points which other have discussed earlier. I don’t know how many times you want someone to repeat to you that public forum is not a place of work for senators.

          • Ajayi Ifayemi

            DId you also read there that it was hosted by the senate? Read again. Public forum or not, the senate hosted it. he is a member of the senate. he is passionate about the issue. Hello! Going by your argument, public forums are useless and no one should attend them, abi?

        • Dr Bunmi Binitie

          Marafa should have been there. There is serious mayhem in his state and he is always lamenting about it. It may well have got the attention of the presidency at the security meeting. Saraki is right this time

      • Oladipo Nurudeen

        Yes, i think he did.

    • shasha

      Our level of IQ is been determined by what we say and what we write, Some of us may not like the man but because of been objective we decide in most cases not to comment so that our comment will not ridicule our thinking faculty,

      • thusspokez

        PIss off!

        BTW IQ is just a number. Mine is 131 (top 2%), tell me yours. To think that a number can determine what one says or writes is extreme stúpídity and symptom of an inability to think. ‘Philosophy is your friend’ stúpíd!

    • Ime Sampson

      You’re right

    • Justice and Fairness

      But frankly, it is a bold fact that there is a House of Assembly, a Governor, Sharia Courts etc in Zamfara State. What has been their response to these infractions. The Nigerian Senate is simply being bogged down with all manners of issues. Soon domestic quarrels between husband and wife would be brought to the attention of the Senate President.

      • Buba

        This is insensitive and very wicked! People are dying in thousands and you refer to it as bogging down the Senate and lumping it as part of ‘all manners of issues’. I think you are just cruel! If this is your culture then may God help you with some doses of decency. Is it because they are from Zamfara State? Your hatred has no minimum level of decency below which it should not fall. We thank God it is your own personal opinion. We also thank God that it is not what determines what happens. Cruel soul!

      • thusspokez

        …t is a bold fact that there is a House of Assembly, a Governor, Sharia Courts etc in Zamfara State. What has been their response to these infractions

        You have (inadvertently) given the reasons, why Mr. Marafa needed to raise the issue in the senate.

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  • Nwa_Africa

    Shitholee country with shithole leaders………………..Marafa table impeachment notice to Saraki immediately……………….

  • Tickle

    It sure shows that Saraki does not like “one side” “one side” talk…………..DISTINGUISHED SENATOR PLEASE GO STRAIGHT TO THE POINT BEFORE YOUR STATEMENT IS “EXTINGUISHED”