By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The 9th Senate was on Thursday forced to adjourn plenary till July 2 following senators’ complaints that they have no office accommodation and lack work tools.
This is also as it has constituted a 12-man ad hoc committee to look into the matter after an executive session of the senators that lasted for about an hour.
Sundiata Post gathered after plenary that the closed-door session deliberated on the complaints about non-availability of offices for both returning and fresh senators.
Senators, across political divide, told the meeting that they were unable to perform their legislative duties as there were no offices to operate from.
They reportedly complained of operating from their personal cars and hotels in the last two legislative days and said they could not continue this way.
It was gathered that the Senate leadership after listening to the complaints, decided to take immediate remedial steps, including adjourning sitting to address the issues.
Sundiata Post recalls that the red chamber of the National Assembly was initially scheduled to proceed on recess next Thursday but had a rethink due to the aforementioned reasons.
Findings yesterday revealed that all the offices of the two principal officers and 107 other senators were virtually empty as members of the Eighth Senate went home with the office equipment.
The Clerk of the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh, had in a memo to the outgone senators, gave them the go-ahead to go away with the office items that include refrigerators, photocopying machines, television sets, settees, printers.
The items which were given to each of the disengaged senators at a token price of N375,000, to be deducted from their severance allowances, were packed out of the offices last week.
The Senate has also set up a 12-member ad hoc committee to liaise with the management of the National Assembly on issues bordering on allocation of seats and offices to the senators.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said at the end of the closed-door session that the committee should submit its report in two weeks.
The committee, headed by Senator Abubakar Kyari (Borno North), has as members Senators Aisha Ahmed Modibo (Adamawa Central), Gabriel Suswam (Benue North East), Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), Betty Apiafi (Rivers West), Akpan Bassey (Akwa Ibom North East) and Barau Jibrin (Kano North).
Other members of the committee are Senators Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), Olubukola Tofowomo (Ondo South), Adeola Olamilekan (Lagos West), Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) and Stella Oduah (Anambra North).
The committee will work with Ayewoh towards ensuring that seats and offices are allocated to all the senators within the time frame.
Also, the Senate, at its first plenary after inauguration, rejected a motion to debate the National Democracy Day speech delivered on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senator Dung Gyang (Plateau North) had come under Order 55 of Senate Rules to bring matter of urgent national importance that has to do with the president’s inaugural speech.
According to him, “this speech is already in the public domain. I am asking that in view of the interest it has generated…”
At this point, Lawan cut him short, saying he needed to seek the consent of other senators whether he should proceed with the motion or not.
Lawan, therefore, put the motion to a voice vote and the nays carried the day.
The Senate later adjourned plenary till July 2 to allow enough time for the allocation of seats and offices to senators.
This was sequel to a motion to this effect moved by Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege and seconded by Senator Philip Aduda.