Mathew Urhogidhe, Senator representing Editor Central Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Wednesday narrated his ordeal in the hands of thugs who allegedly assaulted him at the Benin Airport for calling for President Muhammadu Buhari’s impeachment.
The lawmaker, who chairs the Senate Public Accounts Committee had last week Wednesday called for the invokation of Section 143 of the Constitution with a view to addressing alleged financial infractions committed by the President for spending the sum of $496m from the Excess Crude Account without parliamentary approvals.
Moving a Point of Order under Matters of Personal Explanations on Wednesday, Urhoghide said government sponsored thugs physically assaulted him at the Benin Airport right in the presence of the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and the State Commissioner of Police.
He noted that “as Chairman of the Senate Public Accounts Committee, which Committee oversights the activities of government accounts and expenditures on behalf of the people, I necessarily had to raise the serious infraction and to call for a consideration of how Section 143 of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 as Amended applies”.
Narrating the ordeal, he said “on April 27, 2018, I flew into the Benin Airport, my constituency, only to find a huge number of hoodlums organized to give me an embarrassing welcome.
“As I proceeded from the Protocol Lounge of the Airport in company of the Governor of Edo State and the Commissioner of Police, one of the hoodlums lunged at me hitting me behind the head and causing my hat to fall off to the ground.
“This ugly incident took place in the presence of the Governor of Edo State; the State Commissioner of Police; other security agencies and the media. It took the effort of the Airforce Commandant who took me through the tarmac and out of the airport to save the situation.
“This incident occurred in response to the constitutional duties, which I was elected to perform and which I did with grave responsibility and sincerity of purpose,” he added.
The lawmaker is the undebated motion expressed worries that a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who is protected by law and who has immunity over what he says and or participates in within the hallowed chambers of the Senate should be subjected to such abuse and assault.
“This privilege is contained in the Legislative Practice and Procedure of the National Assembly (National institute for Legislative Studies NlLS, page 39 and reads in part: It is the custom and convention that legislators are protected from arrest and molestation from actions taken during the time of sitting and during the period of a memberjourneying to and returning from parliament.
“If this barbaric act is not discouraged decisively and emphatically, it could be repeated and become the norm rather than the exception and have the propensity to lead to chaos, anarchy and eventually, loss of lives,” he cautioned.
He therefore prayed the Senate to condemn in the strongest terms, the action that took place at the Benin Airport wherein a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was molested, physically assaulted over the performance of his lawful duties as spelt out in the constitution.
He also called on the Senate to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the incident with the mandate to uncover those behind, connected to and responsible for the dastardly act.
He also urged the Red Chamber to direct relevant security agencies to, “within five days from Wednesday, fish out those incriminated and or culpable in the unacceptable and condemnable action and immediately commence the process of bringing them to justice”.