Melaye defends tirade against Remi Tinubu, says she’s menopausal, cannot be
impregnated Finally, Saraki reads letter seeking Magu’s confirmation as EFCC chair
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senate yesterday expressed surprise that the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership chose to react to a purported plan to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari when it had all the opportunity to cross-check what actually transpired at the executive session of the Senate on Tuesday from its members who were in attendance.
But as the Senate moved to settle the dust over speculations on the impeachment threat, the senator representing Kogi West senatorial district in the upper chamber, Dino Melaye, defended his altercation with his colleague in the Senate, Remi Tinubu, but shockingly added that he could not have threatened to impregnate her since she was menopausal.
A statement by the spokesperson of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said the comments credited to the National Secretary of the party, Mai Bala Buni, on the falsehood that was spread merely gave credibility to a news item that members of the public had already disregarded.
“We expected the party to at least explore all the options open to it to verify that piece of fabrication which was only the figment of the imagination of the writers and their sponsors.
“It should be clear to the APC leadership that if there is any truth to that story, it should have been credited to a particular senator who was at the executive session.
“It is evident from our proceedings of yesterday (Wednesday) that the Senate itself was shocked that such a fabrication which constitute a breach of the privileges of the senators was published and that was why we mandated our Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the source and circumstances leading to the emergence of such a fabrication.”
The Senate advised the party to always seek to confirm the truth about any statement, issue or development in the National Assembly before taking a public position as the reaction by the party had the potential of further creating tension and giving the wrong impression, particularly when it was not founded on genuine or factual grounds.
“We will like to assure the party that the Senate as an institution values the present democracy in our country and will not do anything that will undermine or weaken the system,” Abdullahi added.
Melaye: Tinubu Called Me a Dog, Thug
In his defence of the altercation he had with Remi Tinububu leading to outrage from her husband, the National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, the South-west APC, women’s groups, and several commentators on the social media, Melaye yesterday said he was forced to react the way he did after Senator Tinubu described him as a “dog” and “thug”.
Melaye who made this clarification while briefing journalists, said he would not have reacted to the matter but for the misinformation in the public sphere about what happened between him and Mrs. Tinubu.
According to him, the executive session was meant to deliberate on the forgery case instituted by some of their colleagues.
He said he only stood up to talk with the intention of pacifying his colleagues who had initiated suits in court on the forgery allegation to withdraw their suits.
Melaye claimed that when he made his submission at the session, he didn’t use any rude or uncomplimentary words, neither did he mention anyone’s name when Tinubu suddenly stood up and alleged that she was being harassed by him.
Melaye said he exercised restraint when she made the allegation, but his patience ran thin when she again stood up and according to the Kogi senator, call his a “dog” and “thug” who must be “tamed”.
He said it was at this point, he stood up and said to her, “you are stupid,” adding that the subject of impeachment was never discussed at the meeting, but some persons who wanted to score cheap political points made it up and opted to tell lies to the press.
Melaye who said Tinubu kept shouting “dog”, “thug”, repeatedly described as untrue reports that some senators shielded her from his assault, saying he never made any attempt to get close to her, nor did any senator interfere in the shouting match between them.
He added that no senator attempted to caution him during the altercation because everyone was irritated by Tinubu’s action and expression.
He alleged that his trouble with the senator and her husband, Bola Tinubu, started after they called him several times and asked him to withdraw his support for Senator Bukola Saraki during the contest for the Senate presidency last year, a demand which he said he rejected.
He said he had read a threat credited to Bola Tinubu when he said that he (Melaye) had reached the end of his political career, adding, “Tinubu is not god” and he would never go to his house to request for any help.
He also denied the allegation that he threatened to beat and impregnate Mrs. Tinubu, arguing that the statement was unnecessary because she is menopausal.
The clarifications provided by the Senate and Melaye on what really transpired at the executive session on Tuesday, notwithstanding, Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday finally read out the letter from Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, in his capacity as acting president, asking the Senate to confirm the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The letter dated July 17, 2016 and delivered to the Senate on June 22, was reported exclusively by THISDAY last month when it got to the Office of the Senate President. But the letter was not read the day after it was received as is usually the tradition of the National Assembly.
The letter also sought the Senate’s confirmation for four other persons as members of the commission. They are Nasule Moses, Lawan Maman, Garandaji Imam Naji and Adeleke Abebayo Rafiu.
Osinbajo in the letter said the appointments were made in strict compliance with the provisions of the EFCC Act.
The letter read: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act of 2004 established the commission and makes it responsible among other things for the coordination and enforcement of all economic and financial crime laws and enforcement functions conferred on any person or authority.
“Section 2 (1) of the Act also provides that the commission shall consist of a chairman who shall be the chief executive and accounting officer of the commission; be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of assistant commissioner of police or equivalent; possess not less than 15 years cognate experience apart from other ex-officio members of the commission provided for in Section 2.
“The Act also provides for four eminent Nigerians with any cognate experience of the following that is finance, banking, law and accounting. Section 2(3) further provides that chairman and members of his commission other than ex-officio members shall be appointed by the president and the appointment shall be subject to confirmation of the Senate.
“Section 3 of the Act provides that the chairman and members of the commission other than the ex-officio members shall hold office for a period of four years and maybe reappointed for further term of four years and no more.
“In view of the following, I hereby draw your Excellency’s attention to the vacancy that existed in the EFCC.
“Having carefully considered eminently suitable qualified Nigerians for the vacant position. I am pleased to inform you of the appointment of the following and to propose them for confirmation of the Senate as provided by the EFCC Act: Magu Ibrahim Mustapha, ACP (chairman); Nasule Moses (member); Lawan Maman (member); Garandaji Imam Naji (member); Adeleke Abebayo Rafiu (member).
“The curriculum vitae of the appointees are attached for the information of the distinguished senators. I hope the screening will as usual be carried out expeditiously by the distinguished Senate. Please accept the assurances of my highest regards.”
Buhari, last November, removed the former chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, and replaced him with Magu in an acting capacity.
Magu, who is an Assistant Commissioner of Police, was until his appointment, a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption and a former Head of the Economic Governance Unit (EGU) of the commission.