Disturbed by the public outrage over its Wednesday’s deliberation on the embattled Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Pantami, the House of Representatives has said it did not stop the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, from bringing a motion on the matter.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, explained on Thursday that contrary to some media reports that Mr Elumelu was not allowed to move a motion on Mr Pantami alleged links with “extremists”, he (Elumelu) raised a Point of Order on the matter.
The speaker made the clarification while reacting to a point of order moved by Ahmed Jaha (APC, Borno) complaining about some media reports on the matter.
Mr Pantami has been in the eyes of the storm over his alleged links with terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Taliban.
In his point of order, Mr Jaha said the reportage of the House’s discussion on the matter during its plenary by some media organisations was erroneous and misleading.
“This morning (Thursday), I saw some reports that this House took a position, that we stopped the Minority leader from moving a motion,” the lawmaker said.
“As a member of this House, from my understanding, this House did not stop the minority leader from moving a motion. The speaker informed the minority leader that he should come under a proper order.
“I was receiving calls from my constituents that we stopped the minority leader from moving his motion. Nobody stopped him from raising his point of order,” he said.
In his response, Mr Gbajabiamila said, “As you (Jaha) have rightfully observed, Elumelu came under Order 6 – Matters of privilege. Privileges are not motions and are not debated or even require seconding. There was no motion here yesterday.”
However, a member, Uzoma Abonta (PDP, Abia), urged the House to raise a motion on Mr Pantami.
He said Nigerians were looking up to the lawmakers to discuss the allegations against the minister.
Responding, the speaker said anyone with a bill on Mr Pantami should follow the process and bring a motion if he so desired.
On Wednesday, Mr Elumelu, citing Order 6 rules 1 and 2, raised a point of Order on (privilege) which called for the resignation or suspension of Mr Pantami for alleged links to ‘extremists.’
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His point of order was ‘noted’ as the Speaker said he came under a wrong order.
“…You have come under the wrong order… But your point has been noted,” Mr Gbajabiamila had told the minority leader.
The reports of ‘shutdown’ of Mr Elumelu’s motion caused outrage on social media, as several Nigerians on social media accused the House of cover up.
Nigerians on social media have been outraged in the past weeks over reports of Mr Pantami having affiliation to ‘extremists.’