The Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) has given the Nigerian Senate a 48 hours ultimatum to lift the six-month suspension it placed on Senator Ali Ndume representing Borno South Senatorial District.
Executive Director of the organisation Frank Tietie said on Thursday in Abuja that the Senate’s action violated the provisions of Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which guarantees the right to hold an opinion and to express same.
He said the organisation will legally challenge the Senate leadership if it fails within 48 hours to rescind the suspension of Senator Ndume.
“It amounts to crass intolerance on the part of majority of Nigerian senators whose many governmental sins and political foibles have been many times overlooked by Nigerians, yet the same senators have chosen to come down hard on one of their own for exercising his right to hold an opinion to which he is entitled under the Constitution to so freely express.
“CASER therefore posits that the action of the Nigerian Senators is a misapplication of Section 21 of the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act. The use of suspension as a means of punishing a perceived erring legislative house member is a very serious matter since it touches on the right of a citizen in a participative democracy to be represented in governance through the National Assembly.
“The senators ought to have given more consideration to the interest of the people of Borno South by choosing to simply express their reservations on the matter rather than moving to deprive the people of their right to be represented by suspending the senator representing a people of a senatorial district,” Tietie said.