Body & Soul

Why we moved to impeach Buhari –Sen Binos Yaroe

Last Wednesday, some senators threatened to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari over the deteriorating security situation in the country. In this chat, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party representing Adamawa South Senatorial District, Sen Binos Dauda Yaroe, takes ONWUKA NZESHI through the circumstances surrounding the action of the lawmakers

 

What exactly triggered this current impeachment saga?

We had an executive (closed door) session on Wednesday where the press people and other staff of the National Assembly were not allowed to stay in the chambers. So, we discussed amongst ourselves specifically, on the issue of security because it has become a matter of greater concern to every citizen of this country.

Look at what is happening all over the country. If we were thinking that we in Abuja are insulated from this problem, today it is at our door steps. We are very concerned about the situation. So, in that closed door session, we discussed at length and agreed on the general issues and what actions to take.

What were some of your resolutions at that meeting?

What we agreed was that a motion on the issue of insecurity should be raised on the floor of the chamber. In fact the former Majority Leader, Sen Yahaya Abdullahi had drafted a motion that he read out to us and we agreed that the motion should be formally presented on the floor at plenary.

During the meeting, we recalled that the Senate had passed various resolutions on the issue of insecurity and transmitted same to Mr President and Commander-In-Chief but all of these were ignored. We resolved that all those resolutions be represented to Mr President and give him a deadline within which to act, failing which we as Senators across party lines will commence impeachment action against him.

What was the deadline you gave for him to take action?

In fact, the timeline we gave was six weeks. Within that period, we expect him to do something urgently that everybody will see that something is being done on the security situation of this country.

But when we resumed plenary, there was a motion on the state of the economy. In the cause of considering that motion, we discovered that the issue of security was at the heart of nearly all the problems we were facing in the economy.

The economy is getting into a very bad shape and that is simply because of insecurity. People can no longer go to their farms and people cannot travel freely within the country. Also, foreign investors are no longer coming to invest in our economy whether as foreign direct investments or portfolio investments.

Then, on top of that, we hear that eighty per cent (80%) of our crude oil is being stolen and there is very little foreign exchange coming into government coffers.

 

You know that crude oil is our highest foreign exchange earner and if eighty per cent is stolen then I wonder how the government would run the economy. We have also seen how that is leading to the drastic fall in the value of the Naira in relation to foreign currencies. We understand that as at today, the Naira is exchanging at the rate of N690/N700 per Dollar.

So all of these, taken together, showed that the person who is in charge in this country, which is Mr President and Commander – In- Chief is incompetent and ineffective. If you borrow from their presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who said he chose his running mate based on competence and capacity, Mr President is incompetent. In that case, we are asking him that he should resign because he has shown gross incompetence in handling the security, economy and whatever aspect of governance in this country.

At what point did the session become rowdy?

After the deliberations we had during the closed door session, when we resumed plenary, we expected the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, to call on the former Majority Leader, Sen Yahaya Abdullahi to present the motion we had agreed upon. When he didn’t call for the motion, the Minority Leader, Sen Philip Aduda raised a point of order, just like a reminder. But instead of the presiding officer (Lawan) allowing the motion to be presented, he ruled the Minority Leader out of order. At that point, all Senators who felt that that was the wrong way to go, walked out of the and went to address   the press.

There are insinuations that it was just the main opposition party, PDP, members that walked out. What is the truth?

It was not a PDP affair. Of course we had Senators from the PDP, Labour Party, APGA and even some members of the APC. So, it was just an expression of our frustration because Mr President doesn’t appear to have the ability to address the problems of this country.

Yeah, they say it is better late than never. Like I said earlier, we had on numerous occasions discussed the matter of security in this country. We had passed numerous resolutions, making suggestions to Mr President on how to tackle the issues of security. We had also set up an Adhoc Committee that reviewed the issue of security in this country and we came out with a report and resolutions on how to tackle it.

The resolutions and recommendations of that committee was submitted to Mr President and we were expecting that the matters would be tackled, but they were not.

On our own as a Senate, we have granted every single request that Mr President has presented to using order to address the issues of insecurity. I’m talking in terms of budgetary approvals to buy arms and ammunitions as well as finds to recruit more personnel into the Nigeria Armed Forces to boost our capacity to secure the country.

We had expected to see results. We had expected that these resources would be deployed effectively to these items in such a way that we will achieve the desired results, but it’s like nothing is being done. So, the thing has got to a point that … Like they say, if you push somebody to the wall, after some time, he will have no other choice but to fight back . I think that is where we are now.

A few days ago, the terrorists released a video, threatening to start abducting high profile politicians including members of the National Assembly. Is that why you (Senators) have woken up?

No. That’s not why we are doing this. We are doing this because the matter has become very serious. The terrorists have been abducting people across the country. As we speak, schools in Abuja have been shut down as a result of security threats. So it is not because they say they are coming after Senators. I’ve not even seen the video you’re talking about but I’ve heard heard it is trending. But I’ve seen one where one of  Yaroethe bandits that was released from the Kuje Prison by terrorists saying he would go after some people. He was practically naming the people.

So, all these things taken together, made us to take the action that we are taking now.

The six weeks ultimatum you’ve given falls within your vacation period, how do you hope to keep the flame burning?

Yes, some of us actually felt that with the problems we are having, there was no point for us to even go on recess. Some of us raised that point but the leadership decided that we should go on recess. But what I can assure you is that even during the recess, we are not going to let the matter die down. The leadership of the Minority Caucus are on it and maybe before the week runs out, we will also have further official statements coming from the Caucus. It is something that we are going to pursue even during the recess. As you know, during the recess, if there is any matter of critical or urgent national importance, we can be recalled from the recess to take action.

What specific things action do you expect Mr President to do within the six weeks?

Well, I will not sit here and say this is what he should do. But like I said, we have discussed the issue of security several times in the Senate. The House of Representatives has also done so. We have submitted the various resolutions to the executive for implementation which would have addressed some of these concerns that we have been having. We expect that some of these resolutions that we have passed will be acted upon.

We expect Mr President to go back to that report that we submitted following the security summit that we convened where all the service chiefs attended and made presentations. At the end of the day, we came up with a report which was sent to the executive arm of government. We expect Mr President to go back and look at that report, look at the recommendations and take appropriate actions. There are other sundry resolutions that we have passed in the two chambers and we expect him to revisit them in addressing the current security challenges.

 

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