The House of Representatives on Thursday rejected and sent back the representatives of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, and Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun on the ground that the security chiefs should appear in person.
The representatives were introduced into the Chamber after a motion was moved by the House Leader, Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo) which was seconded by Aliyu Sani Madaki (NNPP, Kano).
After their self-introduction, Benjamin Kalu, the deputy speaker, objected, saying although the representatives were competent in their capacities, they would not be allowed to speak on behalf of their principals being it private sector or public sector, they must come in person.
“Mr Speaker, I want to move the motion, that chief executives, be it private sector or public sector, must come in person. I want to pray that we don’t break this sacred tradition of our House lest we be taken for granted.
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“I therefore move that this sectoral engagement be suspended until the leaders of the agencies that we invited who are our friends, who are working for Nigeria, people we are proud of, come. They should come to address us, take our questions, and explain certain things to us,” Kalu said.
After the Deputy Speaker’s motion which was seconded by Nnolim Nnaji, the Speaker, Abbas Tajuddeen, put the motion to a voice vote and was adopted by the House.
The speaker said “Our dear brothers, you have emphatically heard from the House, that this House does not encourage, does not accept representation, particularly at this high-level engagement.
“We thank you for coming. Please convey our message to your service chiefs, that we understand the tight schedules they have and we are willing to adjust to reschedule this engagement to Tuesday next week for them to appear in person” Abbas said.
The Service Chiefs were to meet the parliament on their constitutional responsibilities to ensure the security of lives and property as well as the territorial integrity of the nation as part of the Sectorial Debates introduced by the House according to Order 17, Rules 1(3) of the Standing Orders of the House.
In anticipation of the meeting with the service chiefs today, the Speaker had on Wednesday instructed that the Order Paper for today be made light to give more time for the interaction.
Spokesperson of the House, Akin Rotimi had earlier last week informed that the ‘Sectoral Debate’ Series was introduced by the House to provide political appointees and key government officials an opportunity to brief members of the House of Representatives about the policies and programs of their respective MDAs.