Nigeria News
Lai Mohammed ignorant of House rules —Reps


The House of Representatives said on Sunday that recent comments by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Lai Mohammed, on the controversial $9.3m arms deal had shown that he did not understand how the legislature operated.

The House advised the APC spokesman to get a copy of the Standing Orders of the House to guide his comments on its proceedings.

A motion to debate the $9.3m, which was seized in South Africa on September 5, had failed on the floor of the House on Tuesday last week after the majority of members opposed it.

The motion was moved by the House Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Suleiman Abdulrahman-Kawu, an APC lawmaker from Kano State but the House, presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, opposed the motion.

APC members of the House had protested the ruling of Ihedioha on the motion and walked out of the chambers to express their disapproval of the decision.

Mohammed, while reacting to the decision of the House, had accused Ihedioha of manipulating the proceedings to stall the debate.

Replying Mohammed, the House said under its rules, motions dealing with “infrastructure”, “disaster”, “security” and “investigation” are not debated.

The Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Mr. Albert Sam-Tsokwa, said the reason was that the House wanted to avoid being “judgmental” ahead of the outcome of the investigation of such matters.

He said, “In every place you have rules; if you are ignorant of the rules, you may not understand what is going on there.

“When you debate a motion calling for investigation, you are already taking a position before the investigation takes place.

“That is why the House made the rule, that such motions should be referred to the relevant committees for investigation when passed.

“In the extant case, the motion was even defeated; so, where did manipulation come in?”

Sam-Tsokwa claimed that Ihedioha placed “national interest above party interest” whenever he presided over the affairs of the House, contrary to the allegation by Mohammed.

He explained further that Abdulrahman-Kawu’s motion was not listed to be taken on Tuesday, but that Ihedioha succumbed to pressure to let him present the motion.

The lawmaker claimed that Ihedioha took the decision to “bend backward” on the rules to avoid being accused of stopping a motion by a member of the opposition party.

However, he noted that the motion later failed after the majority of members voted against it, hence Ihedioha ruled in favour of the majority.

By storming out of the chambers, he explained that the APC lawmakers lost the opportunity of using the provisions in the rules to challenge the ruling of the presiding officer.

Sam-Tsokwa stated that one provision allowed the APC members to call for the division of the House whereby those “either for or against” the motion would be counted physically.

He added that a second option was to come by way of a substantive motion asking the House to reverse itself.

House Minority Whip, Mr. Samson Osagie, who led Tuesday’s protest, reacted that the caucus had not given up on the motion.

“We are not letting this matter lie low. We are bringing up that motion again for debate on the floor of the House,” he said.

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