Tuesday, 24 November 2015

APC senators frustrate move to summon President Buhari for ongoing fuel scarcity

National Assembly
Efforts by senators of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to convince the Senate to summon President Muhammadu Buhari to give reasons for the ongoing fuel scarcity in the country, were frustrated, yesterday, by their counterparts in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

The PDP senators, who berated the President’s handling of current economic situation in the country, insisted that he be made to a appear before the Senate to give explanations on the cause of the fuel scarcity and how he intended to solve the issue as Minister of Petroleum.

Their frustrated efforts came following a motion, tagged: “The current fuel scarcity all around the country and the need to urgently resolve the crisis,” sponsored by Senator Jibrin Barau, APC, Kano North and 23 other senators, which was debated upon.

Speaking through Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia South, the opposition senators accused the President of mismanaging the country’s oil sector, causing untold hardship for Nigerians, barely six months after being in the saddle as president.

But the Senate, in a reaction to the development, said the President could not be summoned even as Minister of Petroleum.

The red chamber, reacting through its chairman on Media and Publicity, Aliyu Sabi, insisted that the fact that the President was overseeing the Petroleum ministry as a substantive minister, did not make him to be easily summoned like other ministers.

Abaribe had, while contributing to the motion, urged the Senate to summon President Buhari to explain why the Federal Government was yet to find solutions to the continued fuel problem in spite of its claim that the refineries in the country were working.

He said the unnecessary hardship occasioned by the scarcity could only be resolved if lawmakers were adequately briefed on the true state of affairs. Senator Abaribe‘s submission received wide support from other PDP senators, as they all hailed him.

Senator Abaribe supported his call with a prayer for adoption but it was defeated when the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, put it up for a voice vote.

At this point, the APC Senators, who were more in number, defeated their PDP colleagues with overwhelming shout of “yes” against the PDP’s “nay.”

Earlier, in his motion, Senator Barau regretted that Nigerians were going through untold hardship following the lingering fuel problem.
“We are worried that the scarcity is creating an untold hardship to our citizens who have to pay higher prices for these products especially petrol. We are convinced that the current situation is not in tune with the desire of the progressively inclined government to bring succour to Nigerians in all spheres of their lives,” Senator Jibrin noted.
But at a briefing after the plenary session, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Aliyu Sabi, explained why President Buhari could not be summoned by the Senate.

He said as the Commander-in-Chief, it was wrong to invite him to appear before the Senate, despite the fact that he was the Minister of Petroleum.

Senator Sabi said in the place of President Buhari, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu would be summoned to brief the Senate on plans put in place by the Federal Government to end the fuel scarcity.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa, APC, Lagos East, while also contributing, called for the approval of the supplementary budget which he noted, contained the amount proposed for payment of subsidy to the marketers. He pleaded that the issue be treated with uttermost urgency.


Credit: Vanguard

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