The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila on Friday turned back representatives of the nation’s military service chiefs at a meeting he convened to discuss the security situation in the country.
This was contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Lanre Lasisi.
According to the statement, the Speaker who was visibly disappointed described the action of the Service Chiefs as an insult to the Parliament, and promised to report the matter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Gbajabiamila described the act of shunning the invitation of the parliament by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAF), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas as uncalled for.
He emphasized the need for all arms of government to work together for the development of the country and the benefit of Nigerians.
The Speaker then postponed the meeting to Monday morning, while apologising to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi and the Comptroller General (CG) of Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, who were present at the meeting.
He said: “Let me first of all commend Mr President for the commitment he has shown in trying to stem the spate of insecurity in the country. Mr President has to have people he would delegate those powers to as the Commander-in-Chief as dictated by our constitution”.
The Speaker said “Mr President has delegated those powers to the Service Chiefs, so we decided to call this meeting, as representatives of the people. Let me commend the Inspector General of Police for being here personally. Let me also commend the DG DSS and the CG Nigerian immigration for being here.
“Let me say, as a House, as an institution, I cannot understate my disappointment or our disappointment that the rest of the Service Chiefs are not here.
“Again, like I said, we called this meeting because it was inevitable. It was important. You can see members from Borno State here. There is a crisis in Borno State right now.
“We wanted to hear from the Service Chiefs to know what was going on, how the House can help and what the problems are as well as what are the challenges; to talk about strategy, to talk about what we need to do’. Mr Gbajabiamila said.
“I’m sure you really didn’t expect the House to fold its arms while people in Maiduguri and other parts are being killed. There’s a migration now from local governments in Borno State to Maiduguri.
“I can almost say it shows a disdain for this institution. The budget is on its way. Yes, we need to talk about that. What do you need? What is required? I’m almost embarrassed. To tell you the truth. I’m almost embarrassed,” Speaker Gbajabiamila who was angry said.
The Deputy Speaker, Alhaji Ahmed Wase described the incidence as an insult to his person and the institution of the legislature.
“In strong terms, I condemn those who have deemed it fit not to be here. As far as I’m concerned, as a Chairman of Committee, I never attended to any agency, in the absence of the chief executives and the accounting officers, and I know that these Service Chiefs are the accounting officers in their various agencies. It is our practice, tradition, and I am insulted.”
After the remarks, the Speaker postponed the meeting till Monday morning.
Present at the session were some principal officers of the House and chairmen of relevant security committees.