Nigeria, Abuja – It was a rowdy session at the Upper Chamber this morning over a bill that seeks to establish an Armed Forces Commission 2021.
The session which resulted to verbal exchange between the Senate President, Senator Omo-Agege and few others as reported by Premium Times started when after a voice vote, with resounding ‘ayes’ and ‘nays’, for the bill, “Establishment of Armed Forces Commission”, which the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South), lead its debate for second reading and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, ruled against the it.
Unsatisfied with Senate President ruling, Premium Times reported Abaribe stood up and called for physical votes by all lawmakers in reference to Order 73 of the Senate Standing Rule.
The Order permits for a physical vote on an issue should a lawmaker be unsatisfied with the ruling and/or opinion of the Senate President or chairman of the Plenary.
A total of 13 lawmakers thereafter took turns to deliberate upon the bill. While some supported the legislation, others rejected it outright, Premium Times reported.
Senators I.D Gyang, Bamidele Opeyemi, James Manager and Emmanuel Bwacha supported the bill while Messrs Ibtahim Olorigebe, Abdullahi Adamu, Adamu Aliero rejected it, stating that it will create disunity and that the timing is wrong.
This, as reported launched the chamber into a rowdy session as many lawmakers opposed the order.
This was followed by a moment of verbal exchange between the Messrs Lawan, Omo-Agege and a few others. “For about ten minutes, lawmakers were seen moving from one seat to another arguing inaudibly with Mr Abaribe insisting that “everyone present must get up and vote”, PT stated.
Senator Abaribe while presenting the bill, said, it seeks to among other things, address the “lopsided appointment” of heads of security agencies by the president.
In his debate, Abaribe stated the function and powers of the Commission shall be to ensure that the composition or appointment of Service Chiefs of the Armed Forces reflects Federal Character of Nigeria in the manner prescribed in section 217 (3) of the 1999 Constitution.
He stated further that it will recommend to the president to pick from among the best and most qualified, most educated and most experienced members of the Armed Forces for appointment as Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff or Chief of Naval Staff.
The bill was read for the first time in the Senate in March 2020.
The senators later dissolved into executive session to consider the bill following a rowdy session in plenary.