The House of Representatives has said at no time that a motion on the resignation of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, was shut down.
Ahmed Jaha, a lawmaker from Borno State, stated this during Thursday’s plenary while reacting to news reports about activities in the House the previous day.
Reports emerged that Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, had during plenary on Wednesday shut down a motion brought by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, on Pantami.
But Jaha, who came under Order 6, Rule 1 and 2 of the Standing Orders of the House, which border on matters of privilege of the individual lawmakers, the same order cited by Elumelu on Wednesday, said what happened was misrepresented.
He said: “I woke up early in the morning today to have my Sahur and came across media publications that this House took a position and refused or stopped the Minority Leader from bringing a matter for the removal of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
“He said his privilege was breached because as someone that was in the chamber on Wednesday, there was no motion that was blocked by the Speaker, who presided over the day’s plenary.
“From what happened, this House did not stop any such move. What I know is that the presiding officer only said the order cited was wrong and that the Minority Leader can come through the right order.
“There was no point where this presiding officer stopped the motion (calling) for removal of the minister.”
Gbajabiamila re-echoed Jaha’s submission, insisting that Elumelu came under Order 6, which dealt with matters of privilege rather than motions.
The Speaker beckoned on the lawmakers to enlighten their constituents on the parliamentry terms and procedures so that actions taken by the House are not misconstrued.
He said: “As provided for in our rules, matters that come under privilege are not debated. They are not motions. They are not seconded as a motion should.
“I think it behooves on all of us to educate our constituents on such matters. It was not a motion. We noted the privilege. We only followed our rules. It’s important that our constituents get to know. As is the practice, your point of order is noted.”
Another lawmaker,Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, came under the same matter of privilege. He said the matter at hand suggested that the people outside were mindful of what happened in the House.
He then suggested that it should come under motion on notice for the House to take a clear position.
The Speaker said as observed, there was no motion on the floor of the House on the matter on Wednesday.
“Abonta, if you have a motion or Hon. Elumelu has a motion, you know the proper thing to do. We have a procedure to follow, and I’m sure members will do justice to it,” Gbajabiamila said.
The Speaker also advised journalists covering the House to always report what transpired in the House accurately.
Pantami has been subject to intense criticism in recent days after his previous videos and audios of his sermons surfaced on social media, suggesting that he tacitly supported the activities of terrorist groups, including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
He, however, renounced his previous comments last Saturday, saying that he made some of the statements when he started his preaching at a young age based on his understanding of religious issues and that his views have now changed having got more enlightened over the years.
The renunciation, however, did not spare the minister from a deluge of criticisms, with some Nigerians calling on him to either resign or be sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari.