Lawan Cautions Nigerians against Divisive Utterances

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Ahmad Lawan
  • Senate to screen Justice Dongban-Mensem

Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha in Abuja

President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, wednesday cautioned Nigerians against engaging in issues that would divide Nigerians and cause chaos in the country.

This is just as the upper chamber decided to fast track the screening of the acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, for confirmation as substantive president of the court.

Lawan spoke on the backdrop of the motion of urgent national importance moved by the Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate, Emmanuel Bwacha.

The Senate president, therefore, called on leaders in the country to take advantage of the country’s diversity to wield the required strength to foster unity, peace and development.

According to Lawan, “We should ensure as leaders that we use and weave this diversity into strength, and which is attempting to provide leadership regardless of geographical, ethnic and religious differences. Many of our leaders are trying to do that, so I think you tried to deviate a little bit and it almost turned out controversial.”

Bwacha, who came under Senate Standing Rule 43 to move his motion, had said: “I rise on Order 43 to make personal explanation like the matter of COVID-19 which is a matter that got the world’s attention; the protest against racism which was ignited by the action of the police in Minneapolis, United States of America.

“I would have involved Order 52 of what we know as open demonstration of hatred for blacks in America. You are all aware of the very wicked and unspeakable manner in disregard to the sanctity of human life.

“We lack the moral capacity to accuse the USA, and I am going to say this. Mr. President (of the Senate), we have a lot to learn from the US that claims to be the champion of democracy, industrialisation and Western civilisation. This matter bleeds the heart of any reasonable human being.

“It is because we have our challenges to battle with and we have reasons to learn. There is a protest against racism which is a known epidemic in the US, and what we have to learn from this is the white supremacy over the blacks. White man’s claim of superiority over the black man is what we all know is not the fault of the black man.”

Senator Adamu Aliero, however, objected to some of the submissions of his colleague, saying: “Senator Bwacha is alluding to so many things that are dividing us, it’s not proper for not hearing from the other side. Issues like this should be brought to the floor of the Senate through a proper Order so that everybody should contribute.”

At this point, the Senate president intervened and said: “Thank you very much Senator Aliero. You see, under Order 43, it’s not subject to debate, and if any of our colleagues chose to come under personal explanation, and if anyone felt there is anything to be addressed, it can be done later.

“My take is you have to round off and balance what you are saying because there is an observation and it’s already raising controversy.”

Concluding, Bwacha said: “I am virtually left speechless. I am shocked because I am saying what should bring us together as a country. It’s not controversial. I am from Taraba State. As a man from the Taraba South, we have crisis there that shouldn’t have happened. It’s unnecessary. These are issues I want us to address. Why should we hate one another?”

Meanwhile, the Senate referred the nomination of Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem for confirmation as the President of the Court of Appeal to its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters headed by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele for screening.

This followed a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, in order to enable the Senate amend its order so as to refer the confirmation request to the committee.

Lawan, said it became necessary to screen the nominee and consider the committee’s report today before the Senate will proceed on a two-week break to celebrate the first anniversary of the ninth Senate inaugurated on June 11, 2019.