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90% of senators distracted by court cases – Kingibe 

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Ireti Kingibe, on Wednesday, raised concern over the ongoing election petitions cases at the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal which, she said, were distracting lawmakers from effectively performing their duties.

According to her, for the past eight weeks that the National Assembly has been inaugurated, 90 per cent of the senators have been completely distracted by NAEPT.

She also pledged to work with the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, for the development of the nation’s capital.

The federal lawmaker elected under the platform of the Labour Party representing the FCT, said this while speaking with journalists in Abuja.

While applauding the Tribunal for affirming her victory for the FCT Senate seat, she expressed reservations about some of the court verdicts across the country, saying the appellate court must correct some abnormalities.

When asked about what the 10th National Assembly had done so far since its inauguration, she said court cases had affected legislation.

Kingibe said, “Well, the truth of the matter is, I feel that just as you expect your leaders to be kind to you, you also have to be kind to your leaders. Let me give you a scenario of what the last year and a half has been for most of the people in the National Assembly

“Most of the time during sitting, somebody has a tribunal case in one way or the other. He has to raise money for lawyers and all sorts of things. So for the last eight weeks that we have been senators, I will assure you that 90 per cent of the Senators have been completely distracted, which is expected because if you’re not a senator, you cannot represent the people. So that’s the first hurdle you must clear.”

She added that most of the Senators, especially the new ones, are not silent on matters of national importance, adding that matters were properly managed by the Senate President.

Kingibe said, “The only difference is that when we have issues to discuss, and there is going to be a rowdy session, the Senate President calls for an executive session, and you will never know what happens there.

“I know some of the things I have seen in those executive sessions even with the older senators. Sometimes, I’m shocked at how rowdy the House gets, we all are extremely vocal. If not, there are certain things that would have happened that have not. So you need to give us a few months to see what kind of Senators we’re going to be. You cannot judge us for now. We have been on recess for weeks and most of the senators are away. I also went away and I came back because I wanted to be around for my judgment, even if I wasn’t going to be physically in the court.

“The Labour Party members are also not quiet. Even the 50 minority senators are not quiet at all. Also, within the APC, I will tell you that at least 20 per cent of them are definitely not quiet. So you have to wait to see the things that unfold. There were no committees before. But now that we have committees, you will start to see the kind of senators that we’re all going to be, after  then, you can judge us.”

Speaking on her relationship with Wike, Kingibe stressed that there are a plethora of problems for them to solve, adding that the FCT needed a lot of by-laws to be passed.

She said, “I have a long list of problems that the minister, I and the National Assembly have to solve. I have also reminded the Senate that the Senate is the equivalent of the State Assembly for FCT. We need a lot of bylaws passed. Before we went on recess, I had brought a motion for urgent discussion but the day it was to be heard was when we started to screen ministers and that was urgent because it had a time constraint.

“I made all the senators know that security was very critical. I know the problems of the FCT. So, as the minister has said that he will work closely with me, we will solve those problems.”

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