By: Arowoogun Abiola Ade-Ire

The Senator representing the Bauchi Central Senatorial district, Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi has threatened to drag the Senate President and the leadership of the house to court if his suspension is not lifted within a week.

Senator Ningi communicated this request to the Senate President, God's will Akpabio through his legal representative, Femi Falana (SAN). In his correspondence to Akpabio, Senator Ningi emphasized that if his suspension is not revoked within the next week, he will take the matter to the Federal High Court. He therefore requested to be reinstated immediately and warns of taking Akpabio before the federal high court if this is not done.

It will be recalled that on March 12, the Senate to suspend Ningi for a period of three months due to his statement alleging that the 2024 budget had been padded and inflated by N3.7tn.

In his letter to Akpabio, Ningi's Lawyer, Femi Falana SAN wrote: “On March 9, 2024, our client granted an interview to the BBC Hausa Service on the 2024 Appropriation Act. He expressed his views on the budget of the Federal Government in the exercise of his fundamental right to freedom of speech guaranteed by Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The letter further reads:“Dissatisfied with the interview, you caused our client to be put on trial before the Senate on March 14, 2024 contrary to the provisions of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2018.”

Meanwhile, some individuals and groups in Ningi's constituent have been calling for Ningi's reinstatement as his suspension is not appropriate.

For instance, the constituents, under the aegis of Youth Coalition of Bauchi Central Senatorial District said rather than suspending Senator Ningi, the Red Chamber should instead investigate the irregularities he raised with a view to addressing them in the best interest of the country.

The coalition at a press conference led by its chairman, Nazeef Abdullahi Rio in Bauchi on Wednesday asked the Senate to rescind the suspension.

“We demand that the Senate should immediately reverse its decision of suspending our Senator. Recall him back to his seat so that he will continue representing our dear Constituency and the Country at large,” the group said.

In the event that the Senate refused to heed their demand within two weeks, Nazeef Rio warned that as constituents of Bauchi Central Senatorial District, they will be left with no option than to take legal action to safeguard their constitutional rights.

“To our total dismay, instead of the Senate to commend Senator Ningi for his patriotic discovery and investigate the irregularities with a view to addressing them in the best interest of the country, it ended up unjustifiably suspending him, thereby denying his rights as Senator and a Nigerian,” Rio said.

He argued that their rights of being represented at the Senate is being deprived with the suspension of their Senator, describing the exercise as the highest level of injustice meted on any Senator and any Senatorial district in the history of the country.

They added, “We are also shocked to hear some divisive and dangerous comments by some senators, especially Senator Jimoh Ibrahim and the Senate Leader, Senator Michael Bamidele about our dear Senator and the Northern region which have the tendencies of causing hatred and disunity among various parts of the country.”

“At this time in the history of Nigeria when unity, peace and understanding are dearly needed. We call on the two senators to withdraw these unguided and ungodly statements and apologize to Senator Ningi and all northerners.

“As people of Bauchi Central, we declare our total support and solidarity to Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi. We equally strongly commend him for standing firm to represent our views and fight for our rights and that of the entire Nigerians.

“We also demand that the Senate should fully investigate all the alleged irregularities in the 2024 budget so that nobody will take Nigerians for granted and so that the image of the Senate will not be painted black in the eyes of Nigerians.

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