Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi
west senatorial district, has assured Ali Ndume, his Borno south
counterpart, that Senate President Bukola Saraki will reduce his
punishment if he tenders an apology.
The upper legislative chamber suspended Ndume for six months based on the recommendation of its Ethics and Privileges Committee.
The committee made the recommendation after clearing Saraki and Melaye of allegations brought against them.
had moved a motion for his colleagues to be probed, arguing that the
reputation of the senate was at stake based on allegations levelled
While Saraki was accused of harassing Hameed Ali,
Comptroller-General of Customs, because the agency seized a vehicle
belonging to him, Melaye was said to have forged the certificate of his
bachelors degree from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
Both men denied the allegations, describing them as the handiwork of their detractors.
on Friday when he appeared as a guest on Politics Today, a programme on
Channels Television, Melaye said Ndume was not a victim of witch-hunt.
Ndume is an experienced legislator, having been in the house of
representatives for two terms, and this being his second term in the
senate,” he said.
“I didn’t prophecy that he would be suspended, or
did Bukola Saraki, who was wrongly accused. We are not the ones who make
up the senate. Ndume should understand the workings of the National
Assembly. The senate is made up of 109 members.
“So, the decision
to suspend Ndume was not that of Saraki or myself, but the decision of
the Nigerian senate after investigation by the relevant committees… We
have a very responsible senate president, a very compassionate Nigerian
who does not believe in witch-hunting.
“Already, there is a lot
of pressure, and people are appealing to the person of Bukola Saraki,
and I can say on good authority that if Saraki had presided over Ndume’s
case, he may not have been suspended because the senate president is a
compassionate character. So, if Ndume shows remorse, apologise to the
senate, the Bukola Saraki that I know will persuade members to either
reduce his punishment or forgive him.”
He also disagreed with those who said Ndume was not given fair hearing.
senate has the capacity to suspend any erring senator, but what we are
saying here is very clear, due process was followed,” he said.
Ndume was given fair hearing. He appeared before the committee, he
defended himself before the committee gave that recommendation, which
was ratified by the entire senate.”
Melaye deliberately avoided
questions on his claim of obtaining a degree from Harvard degree, but
chose to speak on other issues relating to it.
“Even a mechanic or a plumber who undergoes apprenticeship is given a certificate… he graduates from his training,” he said.
who attends a particular institution and is given a certificate that he
attended the programme, whether it is diploma, a degree or PhD, as long
as you have been given a certificate, you are a graduate of that
institution because you carry a certificate of that institution.
“I am not going to be distracted.”
the outrage of the public over the decision to suspend Ndume, Melaye
said lawyers and public commentators who have been “blabbing and
attacking the senate” cannot influence decisions taken by the senate.
the lawyers and many others who have been insulting and assaulting the
senate fail to understand is that they are not senators,” he said.
“They are not part of our decision making. They do not know the debates that led to resolutions and opinions of the senate.
they can only blab from outside… Unfortunately, they cannot influence
or destroy whatever we have done. If they want to understand how
resolutions are reached or understand the workings of the senate, they
would have to contest election and come into the senate. Some have been
speaking from the point of ignorance.”