Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday, February 17, expressed displeasure over “deliberate” misrepresentation of resolutions raised on the floor by a section of the media.
They said it was high time the “unfortunate development”, intended to distract the House from addressing pressing national matters, was stopped.
The lawmakers were reacting to misrepresentation of the House resolution to investigate the appalling working conditions, lack of facilities and the poor welfare of the personnel and inmates of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
The House had lamented that services at most correctional centres had not improved in spite of the over N165billion budgetary allocations made to the NCS in the last two years.
The motion was moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker.
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However, a section of the media misrepresented the resolution of the House by claiming that it was a political fight initiated by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, and targeted at the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, a known protege of a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
On Thursday, members expressed displeasure over the deliberate misrepresentation of a joint House resolution that had now been erroneously reduced to a personal political fight between the speaker and the minister.
It was a PDP member, Rep. Onofiok Luke, who came under point of privilege to express displeasure and disbelief over the action of a section of the media.
Luke insisted that the motion had nothing to do with Gbajabiamila as a person but a normal parliamentary decision seeking to investigate how funds budgeted for federal government agencies were utilised.
“It was not the decision of Mr. Speaker, but the decision of the entire House.
“This morning, there was a distortion of the resolution in a section of the media.
“This was a motion sponsored by the Minority Leader of the House to investigate the sordid state of Nigeria Correctional Service, despite the N165bn budgeted for its operations in the last two years”, he added.
Luke also noted that it was instructive that it was the opposition that moved the motion and not the majority caucus of the APC, which served the interest of both the speaker and the minister.
He went on to reel out several other resolutions previously passed by the House for the primary purpose of making institutions perform better, as against fighting the individuals heading them.
Commenting on the issue, the Leader of the House, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, commended Luke for raising the point of privilege and helping to put the decision of the House in its exact perspective.
He urged members not to be cowed or pressurized to lose focus in performing their legislative duty of oversight.
Gbajabiamila, who presided over Thursday’s plenary as Luke raised his point of privilege, said he was as surprised as Duke when the misrepresentation caught his attention.
The speaker noted, “It’s unfortunate that this was misrepresented to mean a political fight initiated by the speaker against the minister of interior.
“We all read the unfortunate slant that was given to the well thought-out motion by the minority leader.
“It’s the privilege of the entire House that was breached; it is aimed at distracting us.
“These are things that we ordinarily should ignore. More of it will still come, especially as we move towards the 2023 elections,” he added.
Gbajabiamila added that he took consolation in the fact that Nigerians are wiser now and could separate the truth from the innuendo dished out to the public by some media outlets.