Hon. Aminu Tambowal, Speaker House of Representatives
By Onwuka Nzeshi
The House of Representatives may vote against the proposed removal of fuel subsidy if opposition parties have their ways when the issue comes up for debate later this week. Over the weekend, a group of lawmakers kick-started a lobby group whose mandate was to do everything within its reach to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from removing subsidy on petroleum products as proposed in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Abdurahman Kawu (ANPP/Kano), who is the arrowhead of the group seeking to oppose the removal, told newsmen Sunday, that the opposition to the subsidy removal was gaining converts amongst lawmakers.
“Section 4 of the 1999 constitution as amended charges us to make laws for the good governance, peace security of this nation and I can tell you that subsidy removal is contrary to this provision since it will hurt the people we are suppose to serve and protect.
“We will pass a resolution kicking against subsidy removal. Already, all members are in support of the motion and we will seek concurrence of the Senate to make it binding and this will stop the government from removing the subsidy,” Kawu said.
The lawmaker urged Nigerians to be vigilant and united in opposing this “evil plan” and ensure that they put aside tribe, religion, party affiliations and regional interests on issues that affect every citizen, no matter where he or she resides in the country.
However, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Zakary Mohammed, who clarified the official position of the green chamber on the issue, said Kawu's position may well be a personal opinion. According to the spokesman of the House, it was rather too early to state that the House would vote against the policy or not since the matter has not been debated on the floor.
"It is not correct to say that all members of the House are against the removal of subsidy on petroleum. We have not taken a position yet because the Medium Term Expenditure Framework that proposed the removal of subsidy is still before the relevant committees of the House. Until work on the document is completed, the report and recommendations debated and put to vote, you cannot say the House is against removal of subsidy. However, I can assure you that when it is debated, we shall take a decision that will be in line with the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerian people,” he said.