Security strengthened as N’Assembly reconvenes
Only senators can remove Saraki, says Na’Allah
THERE was unmistakable evidence yesterday of heightened security as both chambers of the National Assembly resume today. The authorities yesterday beefed up security network at the National Assembly complex located within the Three Arms Zone of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Chairman, House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Sani Zorro, had yesterday confirmed that the lawmakers would reconvene today, Tuesday, September 29, 2015 by 10:00 a.m.
Zorro, in a telephone call yesterday however did not give further details of what to expect when the House reconvenes today.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Bala Ibn Na’Allah has allayed fears that Saraki would face possible impeachment on account of his trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for alleged perjury.
But the Kebbi-born senator, however, exonerated President Muhammadu Buhari from having any link with Saraki’s travail and expressing confidence that today’s sitting will pass off smoothly without any incident because the matter involving Saraki was before a court of law.
At least, three police pick-up vans loaded with police operatives were sighted yesterday at the first entrance gate adjoining the Head of Service and Federal Secretariat axis of the Three Arms Zone.
Eyewitnesses said the policemen, who reported to duty as early as 7:00 a.m., frisked members of staff, journalists and other visitors who sought access to the National Assembly complex.
A Sergeant-at-Arms at the gate who would not want his name in print said the tight security arrangement by the authorities may not be unconnected with the ongoing trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Besides, it was gathered that on resumption of plenary session, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is expected to constitute leadership of the various standing committees of the chamber. The non-composition of the leadership has unsettled most members of the House who are very apprehensive.
Members, who were at the National Assembly ahead of resumption yesterday however shrugged overtures to comment on the development presumably for fear of making statements that may offend the leadership.
It was gathered that intense lobbying has been going on in the House, particularly during the six weeks recess as members jostle to get “Grade A or juicy committees.”
In an interview with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) monitored in Abuja yesterday, Na’ Allah said only senators would determine who their leaders should be and no outsider could determine who leads the Senate.
His clarification is coming on the heels of the increasing public pressure being mounted on Saraki to step aside because of his current trial by the CCT, noting that by Senate Rule, if a case is before a competent court of law, senators don’t interfere.
He said from the series of meetings so far held, there is nothing connecting President Buhari and his government in the ongoing crisis rocking the Senate.
According to him: “The President does not know anything about the problem, so why do people have to link him with it? Senators have met especially those that have so far returned and those that were held in Makkah, everybody has come to the conclusion that this is not a joke, that we must give the President 100 per cent support so that he can prosecute the war against graft.