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Senators disagree over Labour Party petition

17 October 2012, 09:06

Abuja - Senators on Tuesday disagreed during their plenary session in Abuja, over the laying of the report of the Committee on Ethics and Privileges which considered a Petition from Labour Party (LP).

The  party had petitioned the Senate President, Sen. David Mark, over the defection of Sen. Robert Borrofice (Ondo), from its fold to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

 Before the report could be laid, Sen. Femi Lanlehin (ACN-Oyo) raised a point of order, saying that there was no previous petition on the matter laid before the assembly.

`` The procedure for the referral of a petition to the committee is stated in our rules.

``To the best of my knowledge, we have not received in this Senate, a petition either from Labour Party or the government of Ondo.

``The rule states also in 21 that: all petitions are to be signed and presented while 41 (1) says a petition may only be presented to the Senate by a Senate committee;

``Based on the aforementioned provision, this petition cannot , should not and must not be laid," he said.

Mark, however, disagreed with Lanlehin, saying that LP had forwarded a petition to him on the matter which he referred to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges.

``You are saying that no petition was brought before the Senate and laid before the table of the Senate.

``I got a petition that was written to me, and I referred it to the ethics committee. If the Senate does not want to discuss it, I have no problem, ’’ he said.

Mark ruled Lanlehin out of order, saying that his reference to the petition to the committee was based on the fact that it affected a fellow senator, adding that he wanted to be fair.

The Senate President called on Lanlehin to second the motion but he declined. saying that he could not second it since he did not believe in the report.

Both the Senate president and Lanlehin proceeded to cite several sections of the senate standing rules to defend their positions.

Lanhelin stood his ground and refused to second the motion.

Mark told Lanlehin, "since I have called you and you have refused to speak, do not complain when you want to speak and I refuse to call on you.’’

Citing section 68 of the constitution, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said that the matter was a constitutional one and that the constitution was superior to the rules of the Senate.

The Chairman of the Ethics and privileges Committee Sen. Ayo Akinyelure(LP –Ondo ) eventually moved a motion that the report be laid and it was seconded by Sen. Hope Uzodinma (PDP-Imo) and the report was laid.

Mark had in an earlier statement distanced himself from the alleged plot to remove from the Senate.

He said that Boroffice was the architect of whatever fate befell him, on whether he (Boroffice) could retain his seat in the Senate after decamping from LP.



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