With terrorist attacks rising in the nation’s capital city and across the country without tangible measures to contain them, Nigerian senators have served President Muhammadu Buhari with a notice of impeachment.
The senators, who cut across party lines, yesterday, issued Buhari a six-week ultimatum to resolve the worsening insecurity in the country or face impeachment.
According to the senators, they had given the president all that he needed to tackle the security challenges but the issue keeps getting worse even in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the seat of power where they live and work.
The senators’ resolution came after a closed-door meeting with the Senate leadership headed by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, which lasted for over two hours in the red chamber.
After the closed-door meeting, the Senate President blocked a move by the lawmakers to present their resolutions on the impeachment notice on Buhari at plenary, a development which angered the senators, who consequently staged a walkout to address the Senate Press Corps.
“At the closed session, we agreed to give him (Buhari) an ultimatum of six weeks after which we will impeach him. But the Senate President blocked us.
“Nowhere is safe in Nigeria, even Abuja. Urgent steps need to be taken and we left the chamber because we’ve given the president six weeks to resolve the issue or we impeach him.
“We’ve given all the appropriations, resolutions and the support he needs. Our next line of action is to impeach him,” the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Philip Aduda, told journalists on behalf of other senators.
LEADERSHIP observed the presence of senators from across party lines at the press briefing. They include a lawmaker from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa; many Senators from the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Senator Aduda, Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North), George Sekibo (Rivers), Betty Apiafi (Rivers West), Francis Fadawonsi (Osun East) and Mathew Urhoghide (Edo South).
Others are: Christopher Ekpenyong (Akwa-Ibom), Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South), Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central), Danjuma Laah (Kaduna South), Francis Onyewuchi (Imo West), Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), Emmanuel Okey-Jeff (Benue), Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central) and Istifanus Gyang (Plateau North).
Also among them were Eyikanya Akon (Akwa Ibom West), Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central), Enyinnaya Abaribe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and Senator Ibrahim Shekarau of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP).
The lawmaker representing President Buhari’s Katsina North senatorial district, Ahmed Babba Kaita, of the PDP, was among several others present at the briefing.
With the president of the Senate parried the senators’ impeachment move by refusing to recognise any point of order motion on Buhari’s impeachment, which infuriated the senators who expressed their frustrations that the country was now at the mercy of terrorists.
Some of the senators said they are not happy at the silence of the House on the terrorists’ threat to go after President Buhari, Kaduna State governor Nasir el-Rufai, senators and other politicians in the country.
With the massive kidnappings, raping, burning of houses and killing of Nigerians by terrorists unchallenged, some senators told LEADERSHIP that if the security challenges in the country did not get better before their six weeks’ ultimatum, they will impeach Senate President Ahmad Lawan and President Buhari himself.
“We all as a Senate agreed to impeach Buhari after the six weeks ultimatum. We didn’t want to raise the issue now. Lawan knows that we are not joking. We will initiate the impeachment move against him, impeach him and impeach President Buhari, ” the source added.
Earlier in the chamber, the Senate Minority Leader, Philip Aduda (FCT), protested the worsening security situation in the country.
Rising under a point of order not cited, he requested the chamber to give a six-week ultimatum to the president to address the issue of insecurity or face impeachment.
Aduda said, “Mr. President, you may wish to recall that during the closed session we discussed the issues as they relate to security in the country and all the issues around it.
“[And] we had also discussed that we are going to come back to plenary to discuss the efforts that have been made so far on the issue of security in the country, after which we give an ultimatum to the President that he resolves this issue, otherwise we give an impeachment notice.”
The Senate President, while delivering a ruling on Aduda’s point of order, faulted the lawmaker for failing to put forward his request in accordance with the upper chamber’s rules which regulates its proceedings.
Lawan said, “Minority leader, when you’re going to come under a point of order, first, you’re supposed to cite the order.
“Second, you’re supposed to discuss with me what you’re going to raise on the floor. You didn’t.
“Third, we have already passed that stage. So, at this moment, I really don’t know what the point of order is, as such it falls flat on its face.”
Some senators staged a walkout afterwards.
The Senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi, said the decision to impeach the president was a collective one.
He said this during an interaction with journalists after plenary.
“I think it is wrong to say opposition. It was a collective decision of the Senate, to give an ultimatum. The only difference from what the opposition are saying is a matter of semantics.
It’s Belated – CSOs, PANDEF
Some groups have reacted to the senators’ threat to remove President Muhammadu Buhari from office, saying they should have done so long ago.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) described the move by the Senate to serve notice of impeachment on President Muhammadu Buhari as not only ‘belated’ but ’empty’.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt yesterday, PANDEF national publicity secretary, Ken Robinson, said the security situation in the country had been on steady deterioration.
als of the government,” he said.
He pointed at two attacks in the FCT as evidence of insider complicity.
On their own part, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have described the impeachment notice served on the president by Senators as a decision coming late.
According to the CSOs, the lawmakers should have commenced the process long ago as the impeachment process takes time to be actualised.
The CSOs who spoke to LEADERSHIP are Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) Transparency International (TI) and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
Speaking through their leader, Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, the CSOs said even though they commend the Senate for acknowledging the rising insecurity, the lawmakers are now in panic because insecurity is now at their door steps.
“The Senate is coming very late with this threat; they should have done this long ago when the security and the economic situation degenerated. With this threat now, it is not going to make any impact,” he said.
According to him, Nigerians have been suffering insecurity in many parts of the country especially in Kaduna, Niger, Plateau, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and other states and nobody was sympathising with them. But now that the terrorists have decided to come unto Abuja, that is why the Senators are panicking.
“The leadership of the Senate allowed this situation to go the way it has gone because there is no proper oversight on the executive. That does not mean you love Buhari. If you do your work, it means you love Buhari. But because of blind loyalty, it has led the country into this kind of situation.
“We know that the leadership of the Senate is uncomfortable with the move of other Senators, ” Rafsanjani added.
Jigawa APC Berates Senators
Meanwhile, the Jigawa State All Progressive Congress (APC) has berated the Senators who seek to impeach President Buhari from power, describing the move as unhealthy and nefarious to Nigerian democracy.
The state chairman of APC, Hon Aminu Ahmed Gumel stated this in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP while reacting to the call made by some senators for the impeachment of the president.
He said what is needed now from senators and all Nigerians is to unite and join hands together to fight and push out miscreants, other terrorist and their sponsors who unleash their terror on the country.
NNPP, Ohanaeze, Afenifere, CLO Endorse Action
National chairman of New Nigeria Peoples Party, Prof. Rufai Alkali, has backed the six-week ultimatum to President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the worsening insecurity in the country or face impeachment, saying Nigerians no longer sleep with their eyes closed as bandits have taken over most parts of the country.
According to him, “It is sad to notice that bandits now have the audacity to attack an elite military corps as the brigade of guards and escape without being apprehended.”
He also said the security apparatus in Nigeria under the APC government had collapsed, just as he called on Nigerians to vote wisely in 2023 to avoid the enthronement of bad administration.
Apex Igbo Social-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, yesterday declared that the recent threat by senators to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari over insecurity in the country is a welcome development.
The spokesman of Ohanaeze, Alex Ogbonnia stated this in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Enugu.
He noted that everybody, including President Buhari, is now feeling the insecurity in the country, just as he said anybody defending Buhari over the insecurity is not patriotic citizen.
He said it was a welcome development that the lawmakers are now beginning to live up to expectations.
Ogbonnia said the increasing rate of insecurity in the country is now open for everybody to see.
Commenting on the impeachment threat to President Muhammadu Buhari over insecurity, the acting leader of the Pan Yoruba socio -political organisation, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere said the group is in support of the senators
Speaking in a telephone conversation with LEADERSHIP, Chief Adebanjo said, “If they serve him notice of impeachment, that means he should go. His impeachment is long overdue; he should have been impeached over one year ago. The fact that they served him notice of impeachment means lack of confidence in him; he should go; it is a minus for him.
Also, the zonal director North Central Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Comrade Steve Aluko said the six weeks given to President Buhari by the Senate to address the security challenges facing the country is long overdue.
According to him, the Nigeria Senate has failed in their constitutional role. He said they are supposed to have performed this oversight function long before now in view of what is currently happening in the country.
Aluko told LEADERSHIP in an exclusive interview that before now, many senators and House of Representatives members have moved a motion on insecurity in the country, adding that they can only bark and not bite.
He argued that it is a collective failure on their part and that coming right now goes to show the level of disenchantment with the president and the security architecture of the country.
We’re Working To Bring Situation Under Control – FG
However, following some senators’ threat to impeach President Buhari over the rising insecurity in the country, the federal government has said it is working round the clock to bring the country’s security situation under control.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday after the federal executive council meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
He, however, lauded the senators for their patriotism and concern, saying steps are being taken to address concerns.
Lawmakers’ Action Just Bravado, Call For Anarchy – Presidency
Meanwhile, the Presidency yesterday described the threat by the senators as bravado and call for anarchy.
Speaking on Channels Tv programme, Politics Today, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said sadly, security is not something you subject to bravado.
“You don’t begin to issue flippant ultimatums in something that is a matter of life and death,” Adesina he said.
According to him, “Those who spoke today are the minority of minorities, they will have their say as is needful in a democracy but it will not go beyond that.”
“They know in their heart of hearts that they cannot achieve what they are saying, they are just wasting the country’s time, wasting the time of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, they know that they cannot achieve it.
“The truth is that in this kind of scenario, minority will always have its say while the majority will have its way.”
Nasarawa Government Shuts Schools Over Security Threats
Nasarawa State governor, Engr Abdullahi Sule, has ordered the immediate closure of both public and private schools in the State.
He noted that the directive was part of the proactive steps taken to safeguard the lives of students across the State.
The governor’s directive is coming on the heels of security threats across the country, particularly the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which forced the FCTA to shutdown schools in the FCT.
Governor Sule had earlier convened an expanded security council meeting in Lafia, the State capital, where the decision to order for the closure of schools across the state was taken.
It was gathered that the governor told the expanded security council meeting that the government has credible intelligence suggesting likely security threats in communities within the state sharing border with the FCT such as Gitata and Umaisha in Keffi and Toto local government areas respectively.
Briefing journalists shortly after the meeting, the State Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Fatu Jimaita Sabo, said, “having considered and reviewed the current situation in the country, especially regarding the security threats in the FCT, the state government decided to close both public and private schools in the state with immediate effect.”
Attack on Presidential Guards Shameful – APC Support Group
The All Progressives Congress (APC) support group, operating under the body, “APC Justice and Unity Forum (APC JUF),” has described the terrorist attack on troops of Presidential Guards Brigade in Bwari, near Abuja, as shameful and embarrassing.
Troops of the 7 Guards Brigade which provides security for the Presidential Villa and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were attacked on Sunday by gunmen suspected to be terrorists, leading to the killing of two captains and a soldier.
The forum, in a statement yesterday by its national president, Dr Muhammadu Kabiru, told President Buhari to sack the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), and rejig the security architecture.
It said the attack was not only shameful and disgraceful but also embarrassing that the terrorists could have their way in launching deadly attack on troops of the elite Presidential Guards Brigade right in the nation’s federal capital city few hours after boasting that they would soon abduct the president and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State.
It also drew attention to the continuous holding of passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna bound train without government’s visible efforts at securing the release of the hostages almost four months after the incident, a failure it blamed on the NSA.
Senate Impeachment Move, Mere Deception, Deceit – CNG
On its part, the coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has described the move by the Senate to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari as mere deception and deceit.
The group said such a move was a deliberate one by the legislature to divert the attention of the people from the failure of the current administration.
Spokesperson of the coalition, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, disclosed this yesterday while speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP in Abuja.
He said, “As far as we are concerned, that is deception to divert attention from the failure of the current administration.
“They kept quiet all this while and began to talk about impeachment seven months to the general election. So, they are trying to trick members of the public to gain relevance.
“We have a bunch of unreasonable people as legislators; they opted not to check the excesses of the executive over the years.”
Impeachment Threat: We have Lost Confidence On Senate, Says AYCF
Sequel to the threat of impeachment and ultimatum issued on President Muhammadu Buhari to either end the insecurity or get impeached, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) said it had lost confidence in the lawmakers, calling their move mere threat that would not be backed up with action.
AYCF national president, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, said, “The Senate has not done enough; we expect them to have taken better action before now. What is the six weeks for, when we see deaths on a daily basis.
“The National Assembly needs to sit up; for me, I don’t have confidence in them because this is what should have been done a very long time ago. All we see and hear is promises every now and then with no action.
“The security situation in Nigeria is worrisome and needs more proactive measures to bring it to an end than threat of impeachment, it requires concerted efforts to end it from all and sundry before it consumes us all,” he said.