This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Friday, March 31, 2017
SHUT DOWN SENATE FOR TURNING AGAINST NIGERIANS
SHUT DOWN SENATE FOR TURNING AGAINST NIGERIANS
Nigerian polity has witnessed several earth-shaking incidents in the past few
weeks due to apparent deadlock in the relationship between the executive and
the Nigerian Senate.
Nigerians are traumatized by this ugly development. The Nigerian Senate
has turned itself into a hydra-headed monster with its jaws wide open to
swallow up the Nigerian social order. Though it has been denied, the threat
allegedly made by Senate to shut down government appears real. Senate’s body
language indicates it is all out for war with the executive. It is
parliamentary rascality at its worst. We can no longer trust the eighth Senate.
It is capable of doing anything. The Nigerian people must strike while the iron
is hot. We must shut down Senate before it shuts down government.
A look at just a few of the excesses of
Senate is enough to justify the above position. Firstly, the head of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, was rejected
twice by Senate. Nigerians were quick to conclude that the senators were
unwilling to stomach a man who would not make concessions to lawmakers
particularly since many of them have pending cases of fraud.
In the second instance, Senate suddenly bared
its fangs and summoned Hammed Ali. The red chamber insisted that the customs
chief must appear in customs uniform. It was later revealed that a bullet proof
SUV car illegally brought into the country was at the root of the matter.
Thirdly, Professor Itse Sagay, a respected
constitutional lawyer was summoned by Senate for criticizing its actions. This
is indubitable evidence of Senate’s determination to silence critics. Very soon
they will start serving summons on journalists and poor market women.
The Nigerian Senate has also been ruthless in
dealing with dissenting voice within the hallowed chamber. Senator Ali Ndume
was suspended for six months merely for voicing opposition to Senate’s
recklessness. This is another red signal. A few powerful senators are
perpetrating oligarchic dictatorship in the red chamber. Nigerians must rise
before this powerful but self-serving oligarchy descends on other patriotic and
progressive senators in their midst.
This Senate will not tolerate free speech. It
is out to strangulate the democratic process. Senate is gunning for parliamentary
totalitarian dictatorship. It must be stopped before it is too late.
A fourth example has occurred in Senate’s
refusal to screen people nominated as commissioners of the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC). Yet screening of nominees is the statutory
responsibility of lawmakers. Does Senate want carpenters and taxi drivers to
come forward to perform this legislative duty? How then do we explain a
situation whereby senators refuse to perform their duties? We hope we are
communicating with Nigerians and we hope the masses can read between the lines.
Senate appears to be telling the executive arm: “Play ball or …” There is no
other word to use for this than ‘armtwisting’.
We want Nigerians to compare
Senate’s ruthlessness in dealing with both external (Professor Itse Sagay) and
internal critics (Senator Ali Ndume) to the red-carpet treatment it gave the senate
president on the imported car scandal and the kid’s-glove treatment it gave
Senator Dino Melaye on Dinogate.
First is happenstance, second is a
coincidence, the third time is enemy action. The Nigerian Senate has declared war
on the Nigerian people. Nigerians must wake up from their deep slumber before it
is too late.
It is an open secret that corruption is the
major obstacle standing between the good people of Nigeria and higher standard
of living. If we must know, corruption robs us of macadam roads, good public
health scheme, qualitative and affordable education, steady power supply, reliable
public transport system, security of lives and properties, clean drinkable
water and, above all, good governance.
Corruption is therefore Nigeria’s foe numero
uno. It must be brought to its knees and anybody, no matter how highly
placed, who stands in the path of Nigerians, any institution that weakens our
resolve to eliminate corruption, has declared war on the Nigerian people.
It is sad to note that this is exactly what
the eighth Senate has done. Senate has been involved in actions incompatible
with its parliamentary responsiblility. Senate has thrown its lot with
corruption and its Satanic agents by taking deliberate steps capable of
debilitating the executive and the Nigerian people in their war against
Any institution that does this is an enemy of
Nigeria. We must therefore rise against this Senate. Nigerians must prove to
Senate that senators were elected by them. Who owns the land and where does the
real power reside? Nigerians must prove that power belongs to the people.
MURIC calls on civil society to
do the needful. We must occupy Senate until the Senators shut down or until
they confirm all confirmables. For the sake of our poor families, in the
interest of the oppressed and marginalized jamaheer (masses), in order to save
democracy from the jugular-hold of a ruthless Senate oligarchy, Nigerians from
all walks of life must join civil society groups in non-violent rallies to shut
We must make Senate feel the people’s impact
not only in Abuja but also in all the 35 state assemblies. Activists who cannot
reach Abuja are urged to stage peaceful rallies in their state assemblies. Nigerians
must send a strong message to Senate that they will not tolerate parliamentary
We advise organizers of rallies
to inform Senate, state assemblies and security agents of their peaceful
intention. We urge security agents to provide protection for the nationwide exercise
whenever and wherever it takes place in order to prevent hoodlums from
hijacking the rallies. Organizers are further advised to ensure that they pick
rendezvous which are very close to their targets in other to keep trouble-makers
at bay. We do not want the same ordinary Nigerians whose interests we are
protecting to suffer unnecessarily.
As a final note, MURIC is on the same page
with Muhammed Fawehinmi (son of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi) who has asked President
Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief Justice of Nigeria the option to invoke their
constitutional powers by shutting down this rancorous Senate. The Nigerian
people will hail such an action. Buhari was voted into power on the strength of
his commitment to the war against corruption. Like Rousseau’s General Will, if
this Senate will not allow the General Will of Nigerians, viz, to fight
corruption, something must give way. We make bold to say it is Senate which
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)