Election militarisation: Senate to debate bill Melaye’s sponsored bill next week

The Senate on Wednesday resolved to discuss the conduct of the 2019 general elections, especially the involvement of the military in the electoral process.

The decision followed a motion by the Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, who came under Order 42 to draw his colleagues’ attention to some alleged infractions in the electoral process, including the militarisation of the elections.

Melaye said the Senate needed to address issues of impunity in election process and proffer solutions.

He also stressed the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the pending Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

The lawmaker said the matter should be debated in order to correct all the anomalies noticed in the electoral process.

He said, “The militarisation of the process should be debated. We need to correct the process for future elections.

“Also, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari should consider it necessary to sign into law the Electoral Act Amendment Bill in order to help put our electoral process on the right path.”

He said his decision to bring up the matter was for the sake of posterity.

The chamber was, however, divided along party lines after Melaye’s submission.

While Peoples Democratic Party senators insisted that the matter should be debated, their All Progressives Congress colleagues kicked against it.

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session, said the motion would be debated next week, adding that debate on the motion should be devoid of partisanship.

Saraki said the motion was well moved and the issue would be discussed at the Senate leadership level before being listed on the Order Paper for debate next week.

Meanwhile, Senator Bassey Akpan (PDP, Akwa Ibom), on Wednesday, submitted a petition from his constituency, alleging that 200 thugs imported to the state from Edo State, who were arrested during the just-concluded elections were released on the orders from above.

Also, Senator Phillip Aduda (PDP, FCT) submitted a petition from his constituents, alleging that the Nigerian Army has taken over land that belong to the native owners in the Gwagwalada Area Council.

Also at plenary on Wednesday, a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isaac Alfa, was inaugurated by the President of the Senate, three months after he was elected to represent Kogi East in the Senate.

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