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Fire Outbreak Forces Senate To Adjourn Plenary



Less than 24 hours after the rowdy session in the Red Chamber, Senate yesterday forcefully suspended plenary and adjourned sitting because of a fire outbreak that resulted to heat wave which greatly affected the chamber.

The sitting was adjourned till Tuesday, February 20, 2018, accordingly.

There was heavy smoke that engulfed the Red Chamber situated in the White House, committee hearing rooms, the lobby and aisles were affected by the visible exhalation. The air conditioners broke down.

Senators were forced out of the place as National Assembly workers, security operatives, as well as visitors were seen scampering for safety. Men of the fire service were said to have responded promptly to avert any escalation of the fire.

The motion for the adjournment was moved by Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto East). He stated that the atmosphere in the chamber was unbearable and not conducive, and asked for the plenary session to be suspended.

He said: “Mr President, may I move that due to the unfriendly atmosphere at the Senate wing this morning, including the chamber, that plenary should be adjourned till Tuesday, 20th February, 2018.”

Consequently, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who admitted the tensed atmosphere in the chamber, quickly put the matter to vote. The senators unanimously voted for the adjournment.

Saraki further insisted that it became obvious that the atmosphere was unbearable for any serious legislative business to take place, hence the suspension of plenary and adjournment.

The Senate’s resolution to adjourn was to allow maintenance officers to properly fix the faulty electrical and cooling systems.

However, LEADERSHIP Friday reports that the fire incident, which happened at about 10am, lasted till 11.15am. It was observed that the thick smoke which enveloped the chamber caused a serious delay to the commencement of plenary proceedings, which eventually was put on hold.

It was gathered that the smoke in the chamber was caused by an electrical surge in one of the technical rooms situated at the basement of the Senate White House building which resulted in burning of electrical cables.

Other sources said the smoke was masterminded and stage-managed to scuttle plans by Pro-Buhari senators to pass a vote of no confidence on Senate President Bukola Saraki following the uproar in the chamber on Wednesday due to the open disagreement by senators over the amendment of the election sequence.

A group of senators had alleged that the reordering of election sequence by the National Assembly was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.

On the fire, however, the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Ataba Sani-Omolori, was not handy to proffer explanations on the matter.



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