…Meanwhile, they have been accused of not sponsoring a Bill to bring the perpetrators Boko Haram, ISWAP and bandits to justice, who are killing, kidnapping Niger people and have taken almost all the major roads leading to the state.
- One is sponsoring Hate Speech Bill
- Second is sponsoring Social Media bill
- Third is sponsoring Generator Ban Bill
The three lawmakers representing Niger State in the Senate have caused more public uproar against the National Assembly than the remaining 106 senators in the 9th Senate.
Senators Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Mohammed Sani Musa and Muhammad Bima Enagi have done more than any group of senators to attract public outrage, national and international scorn against the National Assembly and the President Muhammadu Buhari government.
The three senators, who are all members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), have sponsored what many regards as the most obnoxious and repressive bills to be considered by lawmakers in modern democracy.
Senator Sabi Abdullahi who represents Niger North had sponsored the Hate Speech Bill, his counterpart representing Niger East, Mohammed Sani Musa, sponsored the Social Media Bill, while the Senator representing Niger South, Muhammad Bima Enagi, recently sponsored the Generating Set (Prohibition/Ban) Bill.
Senator Abdullahi, who holds a degree in veterinary medicine, had not held any public office prior to his election as senator in 2015, according to his profile on the National Assembly website.
Senator Musa, a graduate of business administration, had served as the special adviser to Niger state governor from 2008 to 2011, while Senator Enagi who holds a first degree in Quantity Surveying and master’s degree in Business Administration has not held any public office prior to his election in 2019.
Abdullahi’s hate speech bill had recommended among others, death penalty for would-be offenders. The bill was seen as a way of legally gagging Nigerians from expressing opposition views.
Musa’s bill seeks to criminalize peddling of false information on social media and recommends N200,000 fine or three years imprisonment or both for an individual or N5 million for corporate organizations who are found guilty.
This is also seen by many as an official attempt to bar Nigerians from criticizing the government.
The generating set prohibition bill sponsored by the third senator, Enagi, seeks to stop Nigerians from using “electricity generating sets which run on diesel/petrol/kerosene of all capacities with immediate effect in the country”.
It recommends that anyone who, “imports generating sets; or knowingly sells generating sets shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than ten years”.
Together, these senators from the same state have put the Ahmed Lawan led senate in the eye of the storm and attracted wide criticisms against the present federal government.
The Niger senators have equally been accused of portraying Nigeria wrongly as a repressive and barbaric country through the bills they’ve sponsored.
Niger State where they come from prides itself as “the power state” and has produced two military dictators – Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar – who served as heads of state from 1985 to 1993 and 1998 to 1999, respectively.
Their controversial bills bring to mind an episode in the 5th Senate where another Senator from Niger State, Isa Mohammed, slapped a female Senator, Senator Iyabo Anisulowo, and blamed it on the devil.
Many believe that the three senators are allegedly acting a script by sponsoring bills that irk Nigerians or gag them from criticizing the government.
The founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo, who has been one of the vocal voices against the hate speech and social media bills, had accused the Buhari administration of attempting to avoid criticism by sponsoring the bills.
Meanwhile, most people who reacted to the bill to ban generators had criticized the sponsor and the federal government for seeking to ban importation and use of generating sets in the country without first addressing the problem of power.
Former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, reacted angrily to the bill, saying: “The Senator that sponsored the Bill to ban generators in Nigeria & send those that sell or use them to jail must be insane. He ought to be tied up, placed in a straitjacket, put in a strong sack filled with weights &dropped in the deepest & darkest part of the Atlantic Ocean.”
In his reaction, Nigerian singer, Johnny Drille, said in a tweet: “So many stupid bills getting introduced at our legislatures. Just heard about a bill to ban power generators from the country, a country with a struggling power sector. Smh”
But when THE WHISTLER sought his comments on the negative reactions that his bill has drawn, Senator Enagi insisted that the Generator Prohibition Bill as well as those sponsored by his colleagues from Niger State are developmental bills that would impact positively on the lives of Nigerians.
“You see in this country we have to be serious. We need serious minded leaders and we also need to have serious minded followers and I think that is what my brothers from Niger State are doing. We are serious minded people; we are after the development of Nigeria and those are the steps that we are taking.
“Remember the border closure and the positive benefits that the country has realized from the closure. Remember that China closed its borders for years in order to develop technologically. They are benefiting today from it.
“If we want to be a serious country, we must take serious steps. Yes, there are hardships, but we must be ready to face the hardships because we want our children to benefit. We [should] face the hardship today for our children to benefit tomorrow.
“So, I am proud of my brothers from Niger State. All our bills are positive bills that would impact positively on the lives of Nigerians,” he said.