The Armed Forces Service Commission bill caused a dramatic scene on the Senate floor today.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South) introduced the bill, which includes a clause for federal character in the recruitment of service chiefs and other heads of security agencies, among other items.
During the bill’s second reading, senators from the People’s Democratic Party argued that it was necessary to give effect to a constitutional provision that allows the National Assembly to establish the Armed Forces Service Commission.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) members, on the other hand, argued that the Bill’s key purpose is to restrict the President’s powers.
However, after Senate President Ahmad Lawan put the Bill to a voice vote and declared that the “nays” had the day (meaning that the Bill could not be read a second time), a controversy arose after Abaribe and others who backed the Bill disagreed with the Senate President’s ruling and called for a “split,” a procedure that makes for open voting in the Senate.
Some lawmakers, however, interpreted the call as a threat to the Senate President’s ruling on the matter, causing a near-riot in the chamber before the Senate President declared that the chamber must go into an emergency closed door session.