Nigerian senate president impeached

Published Nov 19, 1999


Abuja, Nigeria - Nigeria's Senate president was impeached on Thursday, with his fellow senators saying he had lost their confidence over allegations of perjury and forgery.

Evan Enwerem, who had been accused by lawmakers of falsifying his age and academic qualifications, had been asked to step down earlier in the day, when it seemed the vote was imminent. But Enwerem refused, and 90 of 99 senators voted to impeach him, two opposed the motion and the rest were either absent or abstained.

Enwerem, who denied accusations that he had falsified his records, will be allowed to keep his senate seat.

The vote is the latest embarrassment for Nigeria's nascent democratic legislature.

Earlier this month, a speech by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien before the national assembly had to be cancelled because a number of legislative factions said Enwerem should not be allowed to preside over the session. The Senate later apologized to Chretien.

In July, the speaker of Nigeria's lower house, Ibrahim Salisu Buhari, resigned after pleading guilty to charges that he had also lied about his qualifications.

Before democratic elections held late last year and early this year, Nigeria had been governed for 15 years by military regimes that crippled the country's oil-rich economy and institutionalized rampant corruption. - Sapa-AP

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