Senate Leader assures of rancour-free session

National AssemblySenate Leader Ali Ndume on Monday assured of a rancour-free session among members of the Senate on resumption on Tuesday.

Ndume gave the assurance at a news conference in Abuja against the backdrop of the call by some senators for the resignation of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

He said it was unconstitutional for anybody to call for Saraki’s resignation due to his case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

He added that the Senate would focus more on deliberating on very important bills such as the Anti-Corrupt Practices Prohibition Bill and other bills and motions that may come up on the floor.

“Let me refer you to Section 35(5) of our constitution which talks about right of fair hearing: the Constitution clearly states that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

“In this case, if somebody is accused as Saraki is accused now; do you expect him to say he will resign? it means you have found him guilty even before the trial, which is not fair.

“That is my position; I have been in this business for a very long time, I am not expecting any rowdy session, there is no big deal in that.

“If events happen like this, we know how to handle it; no problem with that,” he said.

Reacting to his alleged frequent visits to the Villa, he said that he had been a friend of President Buhari for a long time and had continued to visit him and would not relent.

Ndume added that as the Leader of the Senate, there were lots of consultations necessary between the executive and the legislature.

He, therefore, stressed that his visits to the Villa should not raise any eyebrows, noting that it had nothing to do with the case of the President of the Senate at the CCT.

“I am the senate leader and we do consultations, I go to do consultation and we should be doing that more often.

“When the President was in Kaduna on retirement, I used to visit him, so this time around it should not change.

“I have also established good relationship with the vice president and if there are issues that demand my going to the Villa, I do not know why I should not go.

“Why should my presence at the Villa be news?, he asked.

He dismissed claims that he was in contention to be the next Senate President should Saraki vacate office, stressing that he was solidly behind the president of the senate.

“I wanted to be the president of the senate at one time but we cannot have two presidents in the senate at the same time and that is why you see that as soon as we have a senate president, I stood by him 100 per cent.’’

He disclosed that some of the bills that would come up at plenary include the Anti-Money Laundering Bill, the Public Officers Protection Bill, among others.

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