Ben Igbakpa, a member of the House of Representatives, has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to disclose the name of the National Assembly sponsoring terrorists and secessionists in the country.
Igbakpa, the lawmaker representing Ethiope East/Ethiope West federal constituency of Delta State, raised the motion on the floor of the House during plenary on Tuesday.
President Buhari had during his speech commemorating Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary last Friday claimed that there is a National Assembly member sponsoring insurgents in the country, as well as secessionist leaders: Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Sunday Igboho, a Yoruba rights activist.
Reacting to the aftermath of the speech, Igbakpa alleged that since the President made the allegation, he and other members of the National Assembly are now seen as suspects.
According to him, he was questioned for hours when he visited Ghana, because of the pronouncement of the president.
He said: “In the course of Mr President’s address to the nation, I was very happy when he paid tribute to the functions of the parliament and how much we have helped him to ensure that we have done a lot.
“But going further to paragraph 33 of the address, Mr president, in his address which was widely publicised, carried by BBC, CNN and other media houses across the world, told the world that one of us is sponsoring terrorism.
“Mr Speaker, that means 469 members of this national assembly are prime suspects.
“On that fateful day, I went to Akure to be part of the burial ceremony of our former colleague. On Saturday, I had to honour an invitation to Ghana for a wedding. Mr speaker, it will amaze you what I faced at the hands of Ghanaian officials.
“They kept me for about four hours, that they are trying to confirm something. I stayed at the airport for four hours, missed the wedding that I went there for and at the end of the day, one of them walked up to me and said ‘sir, we are sorry because there is an announcement in Nigeria that a member of parliament is sponsoring terrorism; we are out on red alert to ensure that no member of parliament from Nigeria comes here to hide or to cause trouble’.
“I had to come back home, dejected. I lost my respect and my privilege as a member of this chamber. They have been calling me all over the world. My friends have been telling me: ‘who among you is that person sponsoring terrorists?’”
The federal lawmaker said it behoves the president to publicly identify the individual involved and spare others from embarrassment.
He also urged the leadership of the House to liaise with the leadership of the Senate to meet with the President in a bid to unravel the name of the lawmaker.
Responding, Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House, said: “Your point of privilege is noted.”