Senator Ali Ndume, the Chief Whip of the Senate, has shed light on the reasons behind his exit from the Senate chamber during a session presided over by Senate President Godswill Akpabio on Tuesday.
In the midst of the plenary session, Ndume expressed concerns he believed to be breaches of Senate rules and procedures. Employing a point of order, he sought to bring the Senate President’s attention to what he perceived as “procedural violations” transpiring within the chamber.
This departure from established parliamentary protocols led to an interruption of Ndume’s address by Akpabio, ultimately resulting in the senator’s departure from the chamber.
In an interview with BBC Hausa, Ndume clarified that his departure was linked to his decision to leave during discussions on the closure of Nigeria’s borders. He elaborated on the circumstances surrounding this decision, stating, “It all started when Senator Kawu Sumaila introduced a motion that he deemed urgent, regarding the closure of the border between Nigeria and Niger.”
“At first, there was a debate about the motion’s urgency, but the Senate President allowed him to express his views,” Ndume continued.
“After hearing the motion, it was mutually agreed that, given its security implications, it should be suspended.”
Ndume also noted his intention to highlight the significance of the motion to the Senate, but regretfully, the Senate President did not provide him with the opportunity to address the matter.
“I wanted to emphasize that, although the motion is significant, it falls beyond the jurisdiction of the Nigerian Senate. The border’s closure was not initiated by the Nigerian President but during his tenure as the President of ECOWAS. Therefore, he possesses the authority to represent us in this regard.”
“To effectively address this issue, it is crucial to involve our nation’s President. Regrettably, I was denied the chance to convey this message,” Ndume lamented.
Furthermore, Ndume explained that his departure coincided with the time for prayer, which caused some of his colleagues to misinterpret his exit, and the media subsequently misinterpreted the reasons behind it.