by John Alechenu and Oluwole Josiah
The Senate on Tuesday threatened to pass a resolution urging President Goodluck Jonathan to sack ministers who make unguarded statements capable of undermining the legislature.
Specifically, President of the Senate David Mark described Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku as a “careless talker.”
He said this while reacting to a statement credited to Maku.
The Information Minister was quoted as saying, at the heat of the debate on the N5000 note, that resolutions of the Senate were not binding on the Presidency.
Mark, who spoke during a debate on the menace of flooding in the country, warned that henceforth any minister who smears the reputation of the legislature would attract its wrath.
The Senate President said, “Maku is a careless talker; he does not think properly before he talks.
“Maku cannot educate us but we are to educate him.
“The President should caution him and the President must call his ministers to order.
“Next time a minister talks any how about the Senate, we shall take a resolution that such a minister be removed.”
Earlier, the Senate after an exhaustive debate on the menace of flooding, resolved to urge Jonathan to forward a supplementary budget to address the immediate needs of flood victims across the country.
The Senate also passed a resolution, urging the Federal Government to come up with a standard procedure to address future flood disasters.
Senator Smart Adeyemi (PDP, Kogi West) whose constituency is affected by the overflowing of River Benue, said National Emergency Managing Agency lacked the capacity to tackle the magnitude of the current disaster.
He explained that nine local governments in Kogi State were affected by the flooding with 1.9 million people displaced and farmlands destroyed.
Contributing, Senator George Thomson-Sekibo raised the alarm that the nation’s food supply was at risk, saying many of the affected areas were the nation’s staple food producers.
Senators who contributed to the debate were George Akume, Gbenga Ashafa, Adeyemi, Danjuma Goje and Sani Saleh, all canvassing more funding for NEMA.
Meanwhile, Maku has apologised to the Senate over his comments on the resolutions of the Senate.
Maku spoke on Tuesday while appearing before the Senate Committee on Information.
He explained that the comments were not meant to disparage the Senate.
He said, “I have no reason to disrespect the or disparage the Senate. I made the statement when the press pressed me to make a direct statement whether the Federal Government will stop the introduction of the N5000 note. But I could say that because I had not received any position from the President.
“If that was misinterpreted to mean that the Federal Government or myself considers the resolutions of the Senate are of no effect, I apologise.”
On the effect of the resolutions, Maku said, “I know that some resolutions of the Parliament have the force of law, depending on the circumstances and the environment.
“If the President wants to go to war, I know that he will require the approval by a resolution of the National Assembly, approving it.
“I also know that some resolutions serve as a guide to the government, I believe that the resolutions give direction to the government.”
Accepting the minister’s apology, the committee chairman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the country had too many issues to deal with, and no time for bickering.
“It is our hope that this will be last time we will be going through this trouble,” adding that the government should be tactful in making statements affecting other arms of government.
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