National Action Against Terrorism (NAAT) has cautioned the Minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu over smear campaign against Hon. Benjamin Kalu, the Spokesperson of the House.
The group’s intervention came on the heels of press statement and counter press statement from both parties following the call for the sack of the Minister of Communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami.
Abacityblog.com reported that Hon. Elumelu during a plenary called for the sack of Pantami over his link to terrorist organization. However, the speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila shut down Elumelu’s presentation for not presenting his case via a motion.
The act which has been misinterpreted by the public led the Spokesperson, Hon. Kalu to release a statement in clearifying the issue.
But Hon. Kalu’s press statement was met with displeasure by Hon. Francis Agbo of the minority Caucus, who criticised the Spokesperson for being complicity.
Reacting over the raging issue, NAAT in a press statement signed by its Director and Executive Secretary, Ahmed Jafaru Ph.D, Dr. Peterside White, warned Elumelu to come up with motion in a bid not to ridicule the House in chase of Fame.
The group warned the Minority leader to desist from smear campaign against Hon. Benjamin Kalu, as the latter is only doing his job as the mouthpiece of the House.
Read below the full communique issued by the group after its meeting on the issue.
PANTAMI’S SACK: ELUMELU’S POPULARITY CHASE VS. THE REAL ISSUE
Speaker and the Spokesperson were right, Minority leader was wrong.
Our organisation whose aim has been to monitor issues and events around any form of terrorism in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries, having monitored the trending legitimate demand for the sack of Pantami, the Hon. Minister of communication and digital economy because the citizens have lost confidence in his credibility to handle such sensitive office, met and deliberated on various matters arising from the current events especially as it affects the House of Representatives.
Our legal team made up of past members of parliament and legal luminaries have watched the proceedings of plenary on the day of the event of the presentation of the point of order as raised by the minority leader Hon. Ndudi Elumelu with specific consideration of the details of the Order 6 of the House, the specifics of his call as a matter covered under privileges, the televised response of the speaker, the point of order raised the following day by Hon. JahaBabao with the contribution of the minority caucus represented by Hon Abonta Nkem on the same issue, the resolution of the House on it, the subsequent press release on it by the spokesperson of the House, the response by Hon. Francis Agbo of the minority Caucus and the counter reply by the Spokesperson of the house.
a. It was obvious that the point of order 6 relied upon was wrong and does not cover issues raised by the minority leader Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.
Please read the details of the order 6(1) (3) in conjunction with the House Powers and privileges Act 2017.
b. It was mentioned by the speaker Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (not Hon. Benjamin Kalu) on a live TV coverage, that Hon. Elumelu came under the wrong order, thereby constraining the Speaker toonly note his presentation until it is properly presented to which Hon. Elumelu raised no further objection.
c. Hon. Elumelu failed to use the window of coming via a motion for a debate on the following day to remedy the faulty presentation of the previous day. Rather, he enjoyed the misrepresentation of facts in the media claiming that his motion was shut down, when he was yet to bring a motion.
He made no effort to correct the wrong narratives in the press as expected from a principal officer of the House. This was while the Speaker was erroneously bashed by the public for attempting to guide him accurately.
d. These wrong narratives created room for Hon Jaha to come under privilege for clarification of the House that no motion was shut down, which was so clarified without an objection.
Instead Hon. Nkem Abonta an experienced member asked the minority leader to come via a motion to avoid the ridiculing of the House by the public.
e. A formal press release was made by the Spokesman assuring Nigerians in clear terms, without ambiguities, that the Speaker did not act on a frolic of his own but in line with the House rules. The Spokesperson of the minority caucus rejected this press release, demanding an apology from the House Spokesperson, who in turn, rejected the demand.
f. Our intelligence gathered; a certain group was paid to drag the name of the Spokesperson of the House for doing his job as the mouth piece of the House.
Arising from the emergency meeting called this morning to mitigate the attempt by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu to derail the objective of the calls for the sack or suspension of Pantami, our resolutions are as follows;
1. The interpretation of the House Rules are clear on this issue and Mr speaker stated the rules as they are.
2. Hon. Elumelu, the minority leader should stop politicizing this important national issue. Undue publicity and desire for popularity has driven him away from the core content of the call for the resignation or sack of Pantami.
He has instead, started chasing shadows by engaging bloggers to commence a smear campaign against the Spokesperson of the House for doing his job.
3. Concerned Citizens Against Terrorism (CCAT), a platform he created last night is not existent anywhere but was merely set up to cause mischief and disaffection in the House of Representatives and among Nigerians.
The bloggers funded to carry out this smear campaign are willing to testify to the committee on ethics and privileges at the appropriate time.
4. Declaring the Spokesperson of the House, Hon Benjamin Kalu as “implicitly supporting and promoting terrorism”, when his Press release was explicitly clear on the position of the House against terrorism is a petty politics which a legislator at Hon. Elumelu’s height should not be playing because of the attendant consequences on his political career once the evidence is tabled before the House and Nigerians.
5. Hon. Benjamin Kalu does not speak for himself but for the House of representatives and he is protected in carrying out his job.
Personalising his work because one is affected by his mere declaration of the resolution of the House is against the spirit of parliamentary practice.
6. We are therefore, giving Hon. Elumelu up till Tuesday, the 27th of April, 2021 to represent this call for Pantami’s sack or resignation through a motion for a debate or abandon it for us to approach other serious advocates of zero terrorism to table as expected before the House since it is obvious he is only stopping himself not the Speaker or the House Spokesperson.
7. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu should know that thePantami issue is more important to Nigerians than his personal popularity outing or ego massaging; One wonders why it is difficult for him to reverse himself even when his superiors in the person of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker had done so previously. Is Hon Ndudi Elumelu above the House rules set up by the resolution of the House?