Gbajabiamila receives diaspora petition rejected by Deputy Speaker
House of Representatives speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila has accepted the controversial petition by “Mutual Union of the Tiv in America” earlier rejected by his deputy Ahmed Idris Wase.
A lawmaker representing Benue Gwer east/Gwer west federal constituency, Mark Terseer Gbillah, presented the petition accusing the federal government of not resettling the Tiv people displaced from their ancestral land through various attacks.
Wase, while presiding at the time, rejected the petition from the group saying Nigerians in the diaspora do not “really know” the situation in Nigeria and thus they are not eligible to file petitions.
Gbajabiamila said, “I believe this is the same petition that has been causing a lot of misunderstanding. The misunderstanding came from the issue of signature.
“Having cleared that misunderstanding, please, go ahead and lay your petition to be given proper attention.
“Thank Hon Mark Gbillah. Thank you for your patience.”
Wase, who presided over the plenary of March 10, 2021, had prevented Gbillah from laying the petition, claiming that the House does not entertain petitions from outside the country, asking the Benue lawmaker if MUTA was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Wase had also said he was not convinced that Nigerians in America could protest against insecurity in Nigeria, ruling that the House would not admit the petition.
“To set the records straight, let it be categorically stated that the crux of the encounter between the Deputy Speaker, presiding as Speaker, and Honorable Mark Gbillah was on the LEGAL IDENTITY (and flowing from that, the LOCUS) of the petitioners and not on the whether Nigerians in the diaspora have a right to petition the House or not,” Wase’s spokesman Umar Puma said in a statement.
Puma said Wase’s contention was on the “legality of the petitioners and not on whether Nigerians in the diaspora have a right to petition the house or not.
“The House of Representatives belongs to all Nigerians and can be accessed by all Nigerians wherever they may reside. However, like other arms of Government, (such as Courts of Law), Petitioners must follow laid down rules and procedures in presenting their petitions to the House, otherwise, there would be lawlessness, disorder and chaos.”
Gbillah had faulted the Deputy Speaker, stating that the Constitution gives Nigerians the freedom of association, adding that the House has committees that handle issues relating to foreign affairs and Diaspora.
The lawmaker also cited the example of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission chaired by a former member of the House, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who was Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which intervenes in the affairs of Nigerians in other countries.
The petition is presented by Rep. Terseer Mark Gbillah. pic.twitter.com/Xi23fZWFEG
— House of Reps NGR (@HouseNGR) March 23, 2021