Reps furious, defer sectoral debate as service chiefs shun invitation

Beloved JohnNovember 16, 20234 min

Kalu noted that the heads of security agencies were invited for a dialogue and explanation around important issues under its sectoral debate initiative.

The House of Representatives resolved to suspend its planned sectoral debate on an issue of national importance due to the absence of the Service Chiefs, and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

The decision followed the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia), at Tuesday’s plenary.

The House had extended invitations to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Hassan Abubakar, and the (IGP) Olukayode Egbetokun for a discussion on national issues.

However, they delegated representatives to attend the House in their place.

Speaking on the development, Kalu, who expressed concern over the absence of the service chiefs who were expected to appear before the parliament, moved that the sectoral debate be postponed, and the invited officers be directed to appear in person.

“Sections 88 and 89 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowers the House to invite anybody, any specific person.

READ ALSO: Reps commences policy brief series ‘sectoral debates’

“The House extended invitations to the head of security agencies not for an investigation, but for a dialogue and explanation around important issues. We expect the agencies to send their number one officers because the parliament is a number one office.

“The persons they have sent have a great profile and are competent to discuss with us. But in this case, the provisions of Sections 88 and 89 have not been satisfied before the House as their number one officers did not appear before the parliament.

“Mr. Speaker, I want to move, as it has been the tradition of this House to invite Chief executives, be it in the private sector or public. I want to pray that we don’t break this sacred tradition of the House. Lest we’ll be taken for granted.

“I, therefore, move that this sectoral engagement is suspended until the leaders of the agencies we have invited come to address us, and take out questions.”

When Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas, put the motion to the motion to suspend the debate until the heads of security agencies appear in person before the House, it was unanimously adopted.

The debate was suspended, until Tuesday, November 21.

Speaking further on the matter at the weekly press briefing, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Rep. Akin Rotimi Jr., emphasised that it is unacceptable to have representations when there is the need to have extensive engagements with the Security Chiefs.

According to him “Almost every Plenary since the resumption of the 10th Assembly has featured one security-related motion or the other. Nigerians are facing the brunt of security challenges in every part of the country, despite the fact that Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), stipulates that the welfare and security of citizens shall be the primary responsibility of the government. Our constituents deserve answers and to know what our security agencies are doing to protect us. The matters before us are too weighty, and the House has voted that the Security Chiefs must attend the Sectoral Debate in person.

“In line with the Legislative Agenda of the 10th House of Representatives, improved accountability in the security sector is a key priority of the Green Chamber. The House will, therefore, continue to put its weight behind legislative actions that enhance public trust in our security institutions and help them succeed,” he stated.

 

Beloved John

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