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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Armed Forces Bill Throws Senate Into Fresh Controversy

The Nigerian Senate was on Wednesday rocked with controversy over a bill pushing for the establishment of a Commission for armed forces.

The bill was introduced by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe over a year ago, but came up for a second reading on Wednesday.

In his lead debate, Abaribe said the proposed Commission for armed forces would ensure equitable representation of Service Chiefs across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

He cited section 219 of the 1999 Constitution as amended which empowers the National Assembly to legislate on matters of the armed forces.

The motion sharply divided the Senate along Northern and Southern lines, with most northern Senators claiming politicisation of the armed forces.

Though, the bill was voted out, sponsor of the motion, Enyinnaya Abaribe rejecting the outcome, insisted that individual votes must take place in line with order 73 of the Senate rules.

Abaribe said: “Mr. President, this is parliament and the parliament is over twenty years old. You have been here since 1999 and you understand this. Let votes take place.”

Following the uproar, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan called for a closed door.

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