House of Representatives has denied alleged plot to impeach Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. There had been reports that some members of the green chamber were plotting to remove him from office for reportedly working against the interest of northern members who wanted the controversial water resources bill passed.
The lawmakers said the report by an online newspaper (not Leadership) is ridiculous, as they insisted that they were loyal to the leadership of the House as currently constituted.
According to the report, some members of the Northern caucus have concluded the plans to impeach the speaker, if the bill is not passed.
The speaker is currently in the United States of America at Harvard School of Politics.
Chairman of the northern caucus, Hon Musa Sarki Ardar raised a point of privilege on the newspaper report.
In his point of order, Sarkin Ardar said the report is not true. He described the report as “unfortunate”.
Also speaking on the issue, chairperson of the House committee on rules and business Hassan Fulata described the report as “unfortunate,” adding that the lawmakers will not take such comments from an “imperialist” backed media organisation.
“Nobody can dictate to this House what it can do,” he said, adding, “Nobody can tell us how to do our job,” he said.
He said, “All members are solidly behind Speaker Gbajabiamila. Some of us suffered tremendously in the last Assembly. There is no way we will impeach Femi because of the so-called Water Resources bill. This is cheap blackmail.”
The Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, who presided over the session, said the members could not afford to be divided during this period, adding that members should not be “carried away by emotion and sentiment. We remain a symbol of democracy in Nigeria.”
Minority leader of the House Ndudi Elumelu also dismissed the content of the report. He said the report is a needless distraction for a country facing dire security challenges.
“I saw that report, and to me, it is very ridiculous. I know my colleagues, whether APC or PDP. It is very unfortunate that people will sponsor such stupid information. Nigeria is under siege.”
The matter was later referred to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges for further investigation.
The controversial Water Resources Bill, which seeks to bring all water resources (surface and underground) and the banks of the water sources under the control of the Federal Government, was first introduced in the 8th Assembly but was rejected by the lawmakers.
It was then reintroduced in the 9th Assembly but received backlash from a broad section of Nigerians and legislators who feared that it could endanger the unity of the country.
The bill was again reintroduced in the House of Representatives chamber on June 29. Hon. Sada Soli, who sponsored the bill said wide consultations have been made for a better version of the bill.
He gave an assurance that if at any point, indications suggest that it would negatively affect any section of the country, he would voluntarily withdraw the bill.
The bill was then read for the first time and would be debated when scheduled for the second reading.