Saraki Sends Team To Borno State Over Ndume's Suspension
Former Senate Leader Ali Ndume has refused to apologise to the Senate as a precondition for his recall from suspension.
It was learnt that his refusal prompted Senate President Bukola Saraki to raise a five-man committee to brief Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima on Ndume’s fate.
Saraki named Senate Deputy Whip Francis Alimikhena as leader of the delegation.
Many leaders in Borno, Ndume’s home state, are angry with the Senate for not revisiting the suspension.
Ndume was suspended on March 29 for six months, leaving Borno South Senatorial District without representation in the Red Chamber.
The governor, representatives of all the Emirs from Borno State and a delegation from Gwoza Local Government Area, met with the Senate leadership and individual senators to review the suspension.
A source privy to the talks with the Senate leadership said: “The governor, the Emirs and our leaders have had audience with the key figures in the Senate but they gave us only a condition that Ndume must apologise or write a letter of appreciation.
“To us, the two conditions were ambiguous because none of the senators we met told us the exact offence Ndume committed. Some of them said a committee recommended the suspension and the majority had their way.
“But we went ahead to present these conditions to Ndume who rejected them. The former Senate Leader said he would neither apologise nor write any letter of appreciation because he committed no offence.
“He said he only drew the attention of the chamber to allegations in some publications which were investigated by the Senate.
“Ndume said if the Senate cannot review his suspension, he will prefer to serve the six-month suspension and leave either the judiciary or posterity to judge the upper chamber.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “The governor, the Emirs and leaders of Borno have offered to apologise to Saraki and the Senate on behalf of Ndume. Again, the Senate leadership has rejected this latest offer.
“Our concern is that the people of Borno South Senatorial District are suffering. We have begged them, they have turned down our plea. We are also waiting for pay-back time in 2019 during presidential race which is around the corner.
“The truth is that a wrong against a Borno man is a wrong against all. And if you do good to any Borno man, we will reciprocate too. This is our political attitude which President Muhammadu Buhari has benefited from.”
But worried by the anger of Borno leaders, it was gathered that Saraki has raised a five-man team to present to Shettima a fact-sheet on why Ndume was suspended.
Besides Alimikhena (head of delegation), the members are: senators Abdullahi Adamu, Ibrahim Gobir, Isa Hamman Misau and Duro Samuel Faseyi.
A memo to Alimikhena by the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said: “I write to infirm you that the President of the Senate has directed you to lead the Senate delegation to visit His Excellency, Kashim Shettima, the Governor of Borno Stare to brief him on the facts surrounding Senate’s suspension of Senator Ali Ndume and thank him for his concern and support for sustaining the integrity of the Senate.
“You are expected to leave as soon as possible and revert to His Excellency after your visit Please accept the assurances of the high esteem of the President of the Senate.”
The Senate had, on March 21, 2017, decided to investigate the allegation that an armoured Range Rover, allegedly worth N298m, but which the lawmakers said cost $298,000, belongs to Saraki.
The said Range Rover was seized by the Nigeria Customs Service.
The probe was based on a point of order raised by Ndume, who also called on the upper chamber of the National Assembly to investigate the certificate scandal involving Senator Dino Melaye.
Saraki and Melaye were cleared by the Senate.
Senator Ali Ndume