Nigerians, who have laid their hands on the telephone numbers of lawmakers representing them at the Senate, have declared a telephone war on their senators by bombarding their lines with unending calls and text messages.
Those who have called senators representing their senatorial districts accused the lawmakers of poor performance and corruption.
The constituents, who decried poor representation by their senators, alleged that the lawmakers rebuffed their requests. It was learnt that some of the senators engaged their constituents in wars of words.
An online news medium, SaharaReporters, had published the telephone numbers of most of the 109 senators in the National Assembly, asking their constituents to express their feelings directly to those representing them in the legislature.
The Senate had attempted to amend the laws establishing the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the Code of Conduct Bureau, a development that drew the ire of the populace, before the upper chamber of the National Assembly dropped the bill after passing the second reading.
Criticisms are also trailing a proposed Grazing Bill seeking to establish ranches across the country to stem criminal activities of nomadic Fulani herdsmen.
The Senate had denied that such a bill exists.
Constituents have however besieged the various social media platforms to express their disappointment over the alleged cold responses they got from their representatives.
For instance, Portia Emilia Anthony, in a post on her Facebook page, accused former Governor of Abia State, Theodor Orji, who is now representing Abia-Central Senatorial District, of shouting at her on the phone.
She said, “I just got off the phone with a senator shouting down the phone that I am insulting him with the text I sent to him; that I have no right to tell him to vote against the Grazing Bill.
“The man is so angry and agitated, saying I should go and contest and become a senator. Can you imagine the attitude of our so-called representatives? I told him I am not interested as I don’t want to be corrupt. The man went berserk on the phone. I dropped the phone on him.
“Asking me if I know who he is, I told him that he’s a Nigerian and nothing else. Yet, another (senator) has replied and politely assured me that it won’t happen.”
“Can you believe that it was Theodore Orji of Abia state that called and shouted at me for asking him not to allow the Grazing Bill to go through? Please, let’s deal with him. He’s on 07082800***, the man is simply pathetic. #ShareAndShout.”
However, Orji also went to his Facebook page, asking Nigerians to disregard the “campaign of calumny” against him.
He posted, “Attention! Please, disregard this campaign of calumny and falsehood manufactured and being shared by one Portia Emilia Anthony, alleging that I am in support of the Grazing Bill.
“I spoke with this lady from Cross River on the phone and even though she was very rude and disrespectful, I made it clear to her that I am not in support of the said Grazing Bill.
“Please, the general public, especially those from Abia Central—Abians, Igbos and other well-meaning Nigerians — should disregard and condemn this malicious campaign of calumny.”
On its Twitter handle, SaharaReporters reported the exchange of words between a constituent and former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi, who is now representing Ekiti South.
The report had a screenshot of a mobile device showing a message from an anonymous sender to Olujimi, which read, “Don’t support amendment to CCT (Code of Conduct Tribunal) and Administration of Criminal Justice Law because of one man.
“Don’t take that car. People are suffering and you guys want to ride jeeps? You represent me in Ekiti and we are watching. Ile ni apoti n joko si de idi o! (An idiom in Yoruba used when patiently waiting for someone’s return).”
Another screenshot showing Olujimi’s response sent via 08033141***, said, “Sit anywhere. If you voted, it was not free. I paid every inch of the way. Get a job and earn a living, so you don’t keep issuing threats that you can’t enforce and you don’t keep invading the privacy of people. Only dirty people do that.”
Another screenshot of a message said to be from an “anonymous senator” had shown how the lawmaker criticised the news medium for publishing the lawmakers’ telephone numbers.
The sender said, “Above are just snippets of the deluge of calls/texts that we’ve been receiving by your ill-considered decision to release our phone numbers to the public. I believe you did not fully evaluate the way Nigerians think and act before you did so.
“My phone rings at least once every minute. Most senators have gone ahead to change their numbers. I don’t intend to do so but your decision is rather having the opposite effect from what you intended.”
The Nigerian Quagmire, who commented on the post in which the contact numbers of the senators were released on the medium’s website, claimed to have sent a message to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki.