CISLAC faults Sen. Ningi’s suspension over Budget padding crisis  

“We strongly maintain that intimidating or silencing opinion of the dissents or oppositions is unhealthy in any civilised democracy and must not be tolerated as a culture in Nigeria.”,

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CISLAC faults Sen. Ningi’s suspension over Budget padding  crisis  
Sen. Abdullahi Ningi

An advocacy group for good governance, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre(CISLAC ) has faulted the Senate’s suspension of Sen. Abdullahi Ningi, over his allegation that the 2024 budget was padded.

Mr Ibrahim Musa, the Executive Director of the group, in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday, said the suspension of Ningi was an attack on freedom of expression.

Prolonged power outage delays plenary at Senate

According him,  the 1999 Constitution gives no power to the Senate to suspend a member of the National Assembly.

He pointed out that such power was  only found in the Ethics and Privileges Committee laws,  answerable to the plenary through the Senate President.

“On this note, the committee laws cannot override the constitution, most especially in a matter of freedom of expression which is a fundamental right.

“Just as every member of the National Assembly, representing his/her constituency, has the primary mandates and responsibilities to absorb communal observations and offer feedback to the people for public accountability, expressing such in form of opinion must not be interfered, intimidated or suppressed in anyway or form.

“The repressive action by leadership of the Senate would clearly project the legislative arm as autocratic, which, to a large extent, would negatively impact legislators’ independence, robust debate, genuine submissions, and image of the legislature before Nigerians and rest of the world.

“Unjust suspension of a senator who represents an entire senatorial district is similar to public demonstration of unguarded culture of silencing, insensitivity, disrespect and marginalisation of the people.

“We strongly maintain that intimidating or silencing opinion of the dissents or oppositions is unhealthy in any civilised democracy and must not be tolerated as a culture in Nigeria.”,he said.

 

He called  on the Senate to, as a matter of urgency ,shun what he called  silencing opposition views in the legislature ,saying the  essence of the legislature was  to allow for freedom of expression and contrary opinions.

Musa argued that Ningi was at liberty to made observations on 2024 budget, especially at a critical moment when the nation was experiencing economic challenges.