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Senate Suspends Plenary After Lawmakers’ Altercation Over Chamber Seating

The behavior of the senators not only demonstrates a disregard for protocol and civility but also reflects a sense of entitlement and privilege that is out of touch with the realities faced by ordinary Nigerians. At a time when the country is grappling with numerous socio-economic challenges, including insecurity, poverty, and corruption, the public expects its elected representatives to focus on addressing these pressing issues rather than engaging in petty disputes over seating arrangements.



Senate Suspends Plenary After Lawmakers' Altercation Over Chamber Seating

In a dramatic turn of events, the Nigerian Senate has halted its plenary proceedings for one week following a heated exchange among lawmakers over seating arrangements in the newly renovated Chamber. The suspension, effective until May 7th, was announced after a closed-door session on Tuesday

The controversy erupted as Senators convened in the refurbished Senate chamber for the first time in months. Tensions escalated when three Senators engaged in a dispute over their allocated seats. Danjuma Goje, representing Gombe Central, and Sahabi Yau, representing Zamfara North, voiced dissatisfaction with their seating arrangements, prompting them to approach Majority Leader Opeyemi Bamidele with their grievances.

Tensions Rise as Senators Clash Over Seating Arrangements in Renovated Chamber

The disagreement unfolded as Senate President Godswill Akpabio commenced his welcome address following a lengthy hiatus due to the Easter and Sallah breaks, compounded by the renovation works undertaken by federal lawmakers.

According to Senate protocol, seating is determined by rank, yet Goje and Yau, situated on the second row to the right, contested the placement designated by the Senate Committee on Services, chaired by Sunday Karimi, Senator from Kogi West.

Insisting on seats in the front row on the extreme right, opposite the majority leader and the deputy senate president, Goje and Yau’s demands led to heightened tensions. Kawu Sumaila, Senator representing Kano South, attempted to interject with a point of order, but his intervention was disregarded.

Subsequently, Bamidele proposed a motion for a closed session, prompting lawmakers to convene behind closed doors. This incident adds to a series of public altercations among lawmakers, underscoring the need for decorum and mutual respect in the nation’s legislative chambers.


The altercation in the Senate chamber is reminiscent of previous confrontations witnessed in public view, where elected officials entrusted with representing the interests of the public engage in discord and strife.

Such incidents tarnish the legislative institution’s image and erode public confidence in lawmakers’ ability to fulfil their duties effectively. As custodians of democracy, lawmakers must prioritise dialogue and consensus-building to address issues rather than resorting to public displays of discord.

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