Two senators, Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP Taraba South) and Adamu Aliero (APC Kebbi Central), Wednesday clashed over the racial attacks and killings of Black people across the world, with special attention to the recent murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer in the United States of America.
Bwacha, who is the Senate’s Deputy Minority Leader, though condemned Floyd’s killing, asserted that Nigerians lacked the moral standing to discus or condemn the act.
The lawmaker, raising a point of order on matter of personal explanation, said he had brought up the matter for Nigerians to learn lessons from the anti-racism protest in the United States, and desist from all discriminatory tendencies against fellow citizens.
Coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, he drew the attention of his colleagues to the recent killing of Floyd by the Police in Minneapolis, describing the act as mark of hatred of the Black race by their White counterparts.
He said: “There was a global protest against racism which was ignited by the action of the racist Police in Minneapolis, United States of America.
“I would have invoked order 52 to enable us debate this matter, which we know as open demonstration of hatred for blacks in America. You are all aware of the very wicked and despicable manner the life of George Floyd was taken from this world.
“This singular incident, Mr. President, ordinarily would have generated debates even in this chamber.
According to the lawmaker, his decision not to bring up the matter for consideration was due to the fact that Nigeria lacks the moral standing to condemn the killing of Mr. Floyd as the country presently grapples with its own problems of killings arising from ethnic and religious discrimination.
“We lack the moral capacity to accuse the United States of America and am going to say this. Mr. President, we have a lot to learn from the United States of America. America that claims is the champion of democracy; America that claims is the champion of industrialisation, America that claims is the champion of Western civilisation.
“This matter should bleed the heart of any reasonable human being. It is because we have our challenges to battle with, and we have lessons to learn.
“There is a protest against racism which is a known epidemic in the United States of America and what we have to learn from this is the white supremacy over the blacks.
“White man’s claim of superiority over the black man is what we all know is not the fault of the black man.
However, Bwacha was countered by Senator Aliero, who crave the indulgence of the Senate not to entertain any matter that might spark unnecessary controversy.
“I’m sorry, the issue the Minority Leader is raising is very controversial. Senator Bwacha is alluding to so many things that are dividing us.
“It’s not proper for not hearing from the other side. Issues like this should be brought to the floor of the Senate through a proper order so that everybody can contribute”, Aliero said.
Bwacha, however, explained that the reason for bringing up the death of Floyd was to remind Nigerians on the need to work on all problems causing division and hatred in the country.
In his comment, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, explained that Order 43 remained a privilege of Senators to express their feelings, urging those not comfortable to raise their concerns at another time.
“Thank you very much Senator Aliero. You see, under order 43, it’s not subject to debate and if any of our colleagues chose to come under personal explanation, and you feel there is anything to be addressed, it can be done later”, he said.
He also called on leaders in the country to take advantage of the country’s diversity to wield the required strength to foster unity, peace and development.
“We should ensure as leaders that we use and weave this diversity into strength, and that is trying to provide leadership regardless of geographical, ethnic and religious differences. Many of our leaders are trying to do that, so I think you tried to deviate a little bit and it almost turned controversial”, Lawan stated.
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