Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Two senators – Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South) and Binta Masi Garba (Adamawa North) – on tuesday disagreed sharply over President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment that his wife, Aisha, belongs to the kitchen.
The disagreement came on the heels of a point of order raised by the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, during which he drew the attention of his colleagues to the release of 21 Chibok schoolgirls.
While supporting Ndume’s motion on the release of the Chibok girls, Olujimi could not resist taking a dig at Buhari’s remarks on his wife, saying: “Our women should not only be in the kitchen, they should be in the Senate too.”
But Olujimi’s comment provoked a reaction from Garba who swiftly dismissed her submission, saying: “I am proud to be in the kitchen and also in the Senate. I am first a woman before a senator and I am proud to be in the Senate too as a woman.”
However, Olujimi commended the military and international organisations involved in negotiations leading to the release of the girls.
She said: “There are people who are still out there. We need to find them. Everyday, we hear that Boko Haram has been conquered and the next minute we hear of bomb blasts. There is confusion everywhere.
“As women, we are proud of our Armed Forces. We also want to appreciate the Red Cross and the federal government which were part of the negotiations. We appreciate all their efforts.”
Garba also expressed hope that with the release of the 21 girls from captivity, others would also be released. “For the girls to have been freed, it means there is still hope that the other girls will be found. It is a big joy to mothers, fathers and everyone,” she added.
Earlier, Ndume, in his point of order, said he shed tears when he visited the girls at the Department of State Security Services (DSS) hospital.
“When I went to see the released Chibok girls, I could not hold myself. I broke down in tears. The leader of the girls compelled me to make a promise that the other girls will be returned.
“I was moved to warn the Nigerian Air Force to be careful when carrying out air raids on Sambisa forest. They should be careful so that they will not kill the remaining girls,” he said.
In his remarks, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, hailed the efforts of the Armed Forces and other partners that played notable roles in the return of the girls.
He said: “On behalf of the Senate, I want to join others in appreciating God. I want to congratulate the Senate Leader. We are very proud to have these girls rescued. We had been asked several times whenever we travelled when the girls would be rescued.
“We also want to appreciate the Armed Forces and everyone that contributed to the rescue of these girls. I know that they will bring this madness to an end.
“We need to do more to bring the other girls back home. We say congratulations to the families of the girls after all the trauma they have gone through. In the no distant time, we will hear that other girls have been rescued.”