*We’ll enact laws to address causes of insecurity, says Abbas
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Okon Bassey in Uyo
Sectoral debates introduced by the House of Representatives hit the rocks yesterday after the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), failed to honour the invitation to appear before the House.
But the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, has said the 10th House would enact legislation to address the root causes of security challenges in Nigeria.
The sectoral debates organized by the House suffered after the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar; Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, failed to honour the invitation to appear before the House.
In anticipation of the meeting with the service chiefs yesterday, the Speaker had on Wednesday instructed that the Order Paper for yesterday be made light to give more time for the interaction.
The inaugural session was earlier scheduled to commence last Thursday, November 9, 2023 with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Dr. Olayemi Cardoso and his deputies but was postponed.
The sectoral debate was introduced in Pursuant to Order 17, Rules 1(3) of the Standing Orders of the House. But the service chiefs billed to appear yesterday sent representatives.
Following a motion by the House Leader, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, at plenary, which was seconded by Hon Aliyu Madaki, the representatives were introduced into the Chamber.
However, after the self-introduction by the representatives of the service chiefs and the IGP, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, objected, saying although the representatives were competent in their capacities, they would not be allowed to speak on behalf of their principals.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to move that the 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 less we be taken for granted.
“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,” he said.
After Kalu’s motion, which was seconded by Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, the speaker put the motion to a voice vote and it was adopted by the House.
He said: “Our dear brothers, you have heard from the House in an emphatic manner, 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 make an adjustment to reschedule this engagement to Tuesday next week for them to appear in person.”