Senator Seriake Dickson on Tuesday faulted claims by Sen. Aishatu Dahiru that the population of Mubi was “very much higher than that of Bayelsa’s eight local government areas combined’’.
Dickson, representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, countered Dahiru during a debate on the Bill for an Act to establish a Federal Medical Centre in Mubi, Adamawa.
The Bill was sponsored by Sen. Dahiru (APC-Adamawa).
Dickson argued that the size of Bayelsa — the physical land mass and the water bodies was three times bigger than some states in the country.
He countered that the sponsor could make her case without reference to Bayelsa.
“In my Senatorial district, it will take me four days to go round. In my local government, Sagbama, it will take me three days to go round.
“I just felt I should rise to enlighten the sponsor of this Bill and by so doing the rest of the country.
“When people talk about population, they should be careful because if you go deep and ask who conducted the census, who verified what and what were counted, who are the residents and how justifiable, you’d shudder,’’ he said.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, however, interjected and cautioned Dickson against inputting improper motives to the debate.
“Apparently, I have to guide this contribution because you have made your point and, giving our standing orders, we shouldn’t impute improper motives on the submission by our colleagues.
“The discussion is not on the population of Bayelsa or population census conducted before; we should rather concentrate on the main focus, which is on the establishment of a Federal Medical Centre.
“I agree that there are many questions people will like to raise, but I think the essence of this debate is to focus on the general principles and the merits of the Bill,’’ Lawan said.
Notwithstanding, Dickson reiterated his point that “debates and submissions must be based on verifiable facts. Dahiru referred to population figures which are not verifiable. The basis is not explained.
“I only rose to enlighten and contribute without prejudice to the merits or demerits of the Bill; that the factual premise that she has put forward as a reason or one of the reasons why this Bill should be considered is faulty.
“That should be expunged; it should not form part of it because it is not factual; it is incorrect,’’ Dickson said.
While advancing argument in support of her Bill earlier, Dahiru said Mubi, with total land mass of 506.4km2 and population of 759, 045, has nine neighbouring local government areas.
“This together with the population of Mubi North makes it 2, 089, 540 people (very much higher than Bayelsa’s eight Local Government Areas, with a population of 1, 704, 515).
“Nonetheless, this historic town has suffered from government neglect in terms of federal presence, especially in the area of tertiary healthcare delivery,’’ she said.
The President of the Senate thereafter referred the Bill to the Committee on Health to report back in four weeks.