Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
There was a mild drama at the Senate on Thursday when President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, deferred the planned debate on the proposed withdrawal of $1bn from the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government to fund war against Boko Haram.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly had, on Wednesday, resolved to debate the controversial plan on Thursday.
Raising a point of order at the plenary on Thursday, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, reminded the chamber that they resolved to entertain a motion by Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Imo-East) on Thursday.
Ekweremadu said, “Under our rule, the matter was supposed to come up today for our consideration, but I have gone through the Order Paper and it is not there. I just want to make this explanation.”
Responding, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, admitted that the issue should have been raised on Thursday (today) but that Anyanwu did not present the motion and that he sought for more time.
“I agreed with him that we will take it at the next legislative day,” he said.
Saraki’s comment, however, generated noise in the chamber.
In response, he said, “As you can see, he is not here and, unfortunately, we have to put it down (suspend the motion).
“The next legislative day will be when we resume (in January 2018) and it will be the first item on the Order Paper.”
The noise persisted, however.
Explaining the reason for the postponement, Saraki said, “We cannot take it; the person (sponsor) is not here and it is a very important motion that should be delivered very well. It cannot be delegated. We are pushing for the next legislative day.”
Some senators chorused “no!”
The Senate President further said, “We will take it. I can assure you that we will take it. I give you the assurance that we will take it.”
The noise continued until Saraki assured the lawmakers that the money would not be spent from the account without legislative approval.