The senate on Thursday went into a rowdy session after Eyninaya Abaribe, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Abia state, described President Muhammadu Buhari as incompetent.
Abaribe had moved a motion reacting to a comment made by Buhari in UK on Wednesday.
While receiving Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, Buhari blamed the farmers, herders clashes on militias trained by Muammar Gaddafi, former prime minister of Libya.
But speaking on the floor on the chamber, Abaribe wondered why the president was still the commander-in-chief when he could not protect the country from invasion.
“Two explanations were given by highly ranked security personnel on the matter of herdsmen versus farmers clashes,” he said.
“First of all, the IGP said that these killings were as a result of laws being past by states. Secondly, the defence minister said that these killings were as a result of the blockage of routes through which these herders are to move their cattle.
“And we continued to look at all these explanations. Yesterday in London, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Nigeria and the president of Nigeria said the killings are as a result of the people who were trained by the late Muammar Gaddafi and so implying that these people doing these killings in Nigeria are from outside Nigeria and even if he says they are invaders from outside Nigeria, what it means is that now it validates my last point on this floor.
“When a commander-in-chief cannot take care of invaders, invading Nigeria why is he still a commander-in-chief, why do we continue to indulge? Why do we continue to indulge this president that everywhere goes along to tell everyone outside this country that he is totally incompetent. Because it is obvious.”
At this point, lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenged him, with shouts of “point of order” erupting in the chamber.
After calm returned to the chamber, Ahmed Lawan, majority leader, cited order 53 of the senate rules, saying the president deserves respect.
“The president of the federal republic of Nigeria is the leader of this country and deserves the respect and courtesy of this chamber and those of us in it,” Lawan said.
“I was once a member of the opposition and I do not recall ever insulting the then president or insult him. This is our institution. If we do not conduct ourselves with respect, nobody will. I want to ask my colleague to immediately withdraw his statement and apologise to this chamber.”
Cautioning Abaribe, Senate President Bukola Saraki said words that are offensive should not be used.
Responding, Abaribe said: “I am very well guided by you but there are words that there are no alternatives to. What I did was to interpret the words by Mr President in London. If any word I used is misunderstood by anyone, I apologise. What I am saying is simple.”