Sunday Trust online

When Ihedioha attracted anger of fellow lawmakers

The House of Representatives began last week on a good and historic note as they hosted the victorious Super Eagles in plenary for the first time in the history of Nigeria on Tuesday.

Things, however, turned awry at the last sitting of the week in the hallowed Green Chambers on Thursday when some lawmakers  traded words with the Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha in the House over a bill seeking to amend the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).
The proposed legislation sponsored by Rep Chudi Uwazuruike, who argued during second reading, was aimed at setting standards for artisans so as to expand the scope of industries in Nigeria.
But most of her fellow lawmakers opposed the amendment on the grounds that it had been catered for by the  National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
Trouble started when Ihedioha, who presided over the session, called for a voice vote on the bill whether it should be read for a second time.
The question was put three times. But, there was no certainty as to whether the majority was either supporting or opposing it. Legislators, who were opposed to the passage of the bill, insisted that the nays were in the majority.
The Deputy Speaker, after confiding with the Deputy Clerk, ruled that those who voted in support of the bill were in the majority. This infuriated some lawmakers walked out of the chambers.
However, Rep Ali Madaki (PDP, Kano) immediately raised a point of order, citing rule 77 of the House Standing Orders and called that the House be divided to ascertain the true position of the votes taken.
But Ihedioha ruled that “this bill has been referred to the committee on industries for further legislative input”.
This ruling angered the lawmakers who started protesting before the House leader moved for adjournment. As soon as the Deputy Speaker came out of the chambers, Rep Bashir Baballe (PDP, Kano) shouted at him saying, “you cannot continue this type of attitude in this House. You have to respect our opinion because we are all representatives of the people”.
Reps  Friday Itulah (PDP, Edo), Patrick Ikhariale (PDP, Edo), Sekonte Davies (PDP, Rivers) and the sponsor of the bill, Nwazuirike (PDP, Imo) tried to intervene but Rep Aisha Dahiru Ahmed (PDP, Adamawa) countered them and said:  “we cannot seat here all day and our opinion will not be taken into consideration by the presiding officer. Nobody was elected as presiding officer from his constituency; they were all voted here on the floor. This is bad and it has to stop”.
Ihedioha walked past them. But as he was leaving the main building popularly known as ‘White House’ for his office in the new building, he was again accosted by the aggrieved members, who expressed displeasure at the way he handled the ruling on the bill.
Rep Tijjani Abdulkadir Jobe (PDP, Kano) advanced towards the Deputy Speaker in a near fisticuff but was restrained by his colleagues.
It was at this point that the Deputy Speaker rebuked them shouting: “keep shut! keep shut! you impugn motives into everything we do on the floor of the House. We don’t have any interest in this bill”.
But the lawmakers replied “the way things are done in this House is wrong, you cannot continue to treat us this way”.
Speaking to newsmen, Rep Madaki vowed to bring up the matter on Tuesday when the House resume plenary. By this development, Tuesday’s sitting may be an interesting one.
Who uses US dollar to transact business?
The House of Representatives has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban the use of foreign currencies as a means of exchange in local and domestic transactions in Nigeria.
Adopting a motion on the matter moved by Rep Nadu Karibo (PDP, Bayelsa), lawmakers lamented the use of United States dollar for business transaction by some people in Nigeria.
Rep Karibo lamented the use of some foreign currencies, especially the US dollars for payments of school fees, hotel bills, real estate, rent and purchase in bars, night clubs, luxury good shops and so on.

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