• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Jarigbe: how 10th Senate muffle opposing views during plenary

Jarigbe: how 10th Senate muffle opposing views during plenary (1)

The microphone of Agom Jarigbe, the lawmaker who alleged that some high-ranking lawmakers received N500 million for constituency projects was switched off while he was still speaking at the Senate on Tuesday, highlighting how opposing views are muffled at the upper Chambers during plenary.

Jarigbe, the Senator representing Cross River North, in his contribution to the motion on Abdul Ningi’s claim that over N3 trillion is not allocated to any project in the 2024 budget, said all lawmakers are culpable on the issue of budget and constituency projects.

Read also: Budget padding scandal puts Senate under close scrutiny

“If we want to go into those issues, all of us are culpable. Some senior senators got N500 million each. I’m a ranking senator; I did not get. Did I go to the press? Most of you got”, Jarigbe said. But while he was still trying to expalin further, his microphone suddenly went off, while some Senators where shouting “Point of Order!”

The microphone was switched off to prevent Jarigbe from providing further details on the N500 million largesse. The upper chamber immediately degenerated into a rowdy session, as members were seen confronting each other.

This incident echoes a recurring pattern of lawmakers being stifled when attempting to criticize or expose contentious issues in the 10th Senate.
Notably, in February, Adams Oshiomhole , the Senator representing Edo North faced a similar fate while scrutinizing a bill aimed at establishing a budget office for the National Assembly.

Oshiomhole’s attempt to question the necessity of the office, citing concerns about increased government expenditure, was interrupted.

While majority of lawmakers voted in favour of the bill, Oshimohle argued that establishing a budget office is not necessary, noting that the budget of the National Assmbly is already too heavy.

But while he was still making his point, Jibrin Barau, the Deputy Senate President who was presiding over plenary interrupted him, and asked him to summarize quickly.

As he resumed his comment, before he could finish, he was again interrupted by Tahir Monguno, the Senator representing, Borno North Senatorial District who raised a point of order asking Oahiomohle to take back his comment,] describing it as irrelevant.

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Meanwhile, BusinessDay observed that other Lawmakers who spoke in favour of the Bill were given ample time to speak.

Another instance is during debate on the controversial bill to extend the tenure and retirement age of National Assembly Staff. When lawmakers were debating if the bill should be read for the third time, some lawmakers raised their hands to oppose the bill, but Barau who presided over the session ignored their hands which were visibly up and the Bill was hurriedly passed.