*”Saraki is a curse” – placard
By Sandra Onyekwere
Nigerians seems to be seriously waking to the use of protest as a democratic tool of expressing their disgust with an unusual crowd of people in their thousands embarking on a protest match thereby blocking the entrance to the National Assembly in Abuja.
The crowd which does not look like the usual rented crowd are demanding the immediate reinstatement of Senator Ali Ndume, representing Borno south in the Senate.
Senator Ndume was suspended last week by the Senate for activating internal investigations into allegations of forgery against the senate president, Bukola Saraki and Kogi senator, Dino Melaye.
Several media reports had been on the prowl in the media about how Senator Saraki had imported a bullet proof Range Rover SUV without paying appropriate import duty to the Customs. Every attempt to clear the vehicle which also is riddled with falsified papers proved abortive.
This dovetailed into the invitation of the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (Rtd) which also came with the controversy of wearing or not wearing uniform to appear before the parliament.
This led to Senator Dino Melaye who was accused of falsely claiming to have graduated from Ahmadu Bello University.
The Senate committee brought up on the matters dismissed both allegations and recommended sanctions against Ndume by suspending him for six months.
Lawyers have warned that the Senate does not have the power to suspend a Senator as it amounts to suspending a part of the country. However, there have been moves by some Borno politicians to get Ndume reinstated.
The protesters arrived the National Assembly gate early Tuesday morning with placards lambasting Saraki and the Senate. “Saraki is a curse”, one placard read.
Many of the protesters said they were natives of southern Borno, Ndume’s district, but mostly live in Mararaba, Ado and Masaka and other outskirt communities of Abuja.