OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Wednesday called for Rivers State inclusion among beneficiaries from the distribution of projects financed from loans procured by the federal government.
This is as the lawmakers further resolved to mandate the Committee on Aids, Loans & Debt Management to liaise with the office of the Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters to the President to ascertain the veracity of the allegation and report back to the House within 14 days for further legislative action.
The House resolutions were reached under urgent national public importance matters during the plenary session as presented by Solomon Bob (PDP, Rivers).
The lawmaker stated that the lack of Rivers State inclusion does not portray true federalism, and the distribution of projects across the federation should reflect equity and fairness across all ethnic bonds.
Bob also expressed worry that Rivers state, a vital economic contributor to the Nigerian economy, would be treated thus. Additional, he then called on the House to use its constitutional powers to compel the federal government to redress the abnormally.
According to Bob, “Nigeria is a federation that professes equity, fairness and social justice and to this end, several constitutional provisions are prohibiting all or any forms of discrimination based on partisan leaning, religion, place of origin or tribe, among others;
“Section 15(4) & (5) of the constitution provides –
(a) The State shall foster a feeling of belonging and of involvement among the various peoples of the federation, to the end that loyalty to the nation shall override sectional loyalties.
(b) The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.
“Again notes still that section 16(2) (a) & (c) of the same constitution provides –
“The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring –
“The promotion of a planned and balanced economic development;
“Meanwhile, the economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals or a group;
“The foregoing provisions impose a duty on the federal government to ensure equitable distribution of resources and projects across the federation. And also among the states in such a manner as to eschew exclusion and ensure fairness in administering the affairs of the government of the federation;
“Aware that the federal government recently forwarded a request to the National Assembly for approval of fresh loans from the World Bank and other donor agencies for execution of various projects in all the states of the federation”.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Ahmed Wase and the Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno, expressed concern that the motion ought to have been put on notice for members to debate from an informed point of view.
In his reaction, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, agreed with the Deputy Speaker and the Chief Whip. He then pointed out that the use of the word partisan as the reason for Rivers State’s exclusion doesn’t seem right. Moreover, the source of information for the motion is speculative.
Speaking further, Gbajabiamila then advised Bob to amend the prayer from calling for interrogation to instead call for the Rivers State inclusion as a beneficiary of the projects. Assuming it is true that Rivers State was indeed the only State excluded.
The motion was voted and adopted when the presiding officer, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, put the question before the House.