By Udora Orizu
Members of the House of Representatives, after an hour of heated argument, finally resolved to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before them and offer explanation on the security situation of the country.
The resolution is coming on the heels of the killing of over 43 rice farmers in Zarbamari village, Borno State at the weekend.
Moving a motion earlier on behalf of other 10 Borno State lawmakers at plenary on Tuesday, Hon. Satomi Ahmed prayed that the president to amongst others things, declare a state of emergency on security matters.
Ahmed lamented that the attackers tied up agricultural labourers working in rice field and slit their throats, adding that some of the victims were labourers from other states who had travelled to work on the rice farm.
He said the exact number of people killed in the incident is not yet known as over 44 dead bodies were recovered and buried with six others with serious injuries and many more residents are reported missing.
He prayed the House to condemn the killing of the unarmed farmers and observe a minute silence on their honour.
The lawmaker also prayed the House to urge the federal government to declare a state of emergency on security in the North-east and other parts of the country.
But, Hon. Ahmadu Jaha, one of the co-sponsors of the motion, raised a point of order, saying that a prayer was omitted.
Jaha said that in the original motion, all the sponsors agreed that Buhari should be invited to brief the House on the true state of the security of the nation, which was removed, adding that he’s shocked by the removal.
He stressed that he risked his life several times and wants it to be on record and in the hearts of his constituents that he was not silent on the insecurity of the region.
While his amendment got overwhelming support from other lawmakers, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Majority Leader, Hon. Ado Doguwa, opined that it was not necessary as security issues can’t be discussed openly, pleading for the understanding of his colleagues not to summon the president.
Gbajabiamila said that inviting the president to the floor may not be the best way to go, adding that there are other ways to engage.
He said that the prayer calling for a state of emergency on insecurity allows for far reaching decision and was enough to address the many demands of the region.
Doguwa on his part said every member of the House was in support of the motion, but that security issues should not be discussed in the open.
The House, soon became very rowdy when Hon. Shehu Koko rose to corroborate the position of the majority leader.
Their contributions were greeted with shouts of ‘no’ from majority of the lawmakers, who insisted that the president appear on the floor and address the security situation in the country.
Gbajabiamila, in an attempt to calm the very rowdy session, ruled that plenary be suspended and members go into an executive session to resolve the matter.
Reconvening after an hour from the closed door meeting, Hon. Ahmadu Jaha from Borno State, who earlier insisted on the invitation as the key prayer of the motion, was asked to formally move the motion for the president’s appearance.
The House, however did not specify on the day or time of the president’s appearance.