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Senate leadership crisis deepens

•Marafa faces sanction over media reports

From Fred Itua, Abuja

The leadership crisis in the Senate yesterday assumed a new dimension as the Upper Legislative Chamber directed its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, to investigate Senator Kabir Marafa over an alleged false publication in a national daily.

The result of the probe may lead to his suspension. Some Senators are calling for reining in Marafa for allegedly embarrassing the Upper Chamber with his press interview.

Relying on a Point of Order, Senator Isah Misau said the said the report published on February 7, 2016 and credited to Senator Marafa was misleading and has brought the Senate to disrepute.

He said it was unfortunate that at a time when the Senate was working hard to pass the budget in good time, one of them was misleading the generality of Nigerians with falsehood.

Misau said it took him about 11 years to get to the Senate and as such, could not overlook the situation where his integrity and the Senate’s are being rubbished by another senator.

“Senator Kabir Marafa granted an interview misleading the public telling lies against this institution, the Senate. I think I have received more than 500 calls from my constituency in respect of this publication.

“I will not allow somebody who enjoyed the seventh Senate to come and not allow us to do our work properly here. Mr President, I think the leadership has to do something about this, we cannot allow one person to continue to tell lies against the Senate misleading the public.

“I think it is better we take a decision so that we correct things not only Marafa, anybody that is here would not be allowed to be misleading the public,” he said.

Also contributing, Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South), said it was disheartening that a lawmaker would continually bring the entire Senate to disrepute.

“I want to say with every element of responsibility that publication smears the integrity of this house. The leadership of this house that I have so much respect for, has been brought to total disrepute,” he said.

The Senate thereafter referred the motion to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions chaired by Sen. Sam Anyanwu (PDP Imo) to report back in one week.

Meanwhile, Senator Marafa has reacted to the alleged plot to suspend him. He told Daily Sun, that he was ready to face the committee and tell the whole world what he knows about the goings on in the Senate.

Marafa said: “Do they have any rules in the Senate? How many times did I raise Points of Order to call their attention to the violation of Senate Orders? I will gladly honour the invitation of the committee.”

I have been waiting for the opportunity to appear before them. I am waiting for them. Let them expedite action on it. I am calling on all Nigerians to come and witness the mother of all trials.”