Gbajabiamila accepts diaspora petition rejected by Deputy Speaker

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has accepted a petition filed by the Mutual Union of Tiv in America.

This is coming almost two weeks after the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, prevented the lawmaker representing Gwer-East/Gwer-West Federal Constituency in Benue State, Mr Mark Gbillah, from laying the petition before the House.

Wase, who presided over the plenary of March 10, 2021, had initially prevented the petition.

But the speaker brought the petition back at the plenary on and it was admitted the Speaker of the lower legislative chamber.

Gbajabiamila said, “I believe this is the same petition that has been causing a lot of misunderstanding. The misunderstanding came from the issue of signature.

“Having cleared that misunderstanding, please, go ahead and lay your petition to be given proper attention.

“Thank Hon Mark Gbillah. Thank you for your patience.”

Rejecting the petition two weeks ago. Wase had claimed that the House does not entertain petitions from outside the country, asking the Benue lawmaker if MUTA was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Wase had also said he was not convinced that Nigerians in America could protest against insecurity in Nigeria, ruling that the House would not admit the petition.

Gbillah had faulted the Deputy Speaker, stating that the Constitution gives Nigerians the freedom of association, adding that the House has committees that handle issues relating to foreign affairs and Diaspora.

The lawmaker also cited the example of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission chaired by a former member of the House, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who was Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which intervenes in the affairs of Nigerians in other countries.

In the wake of the drama in the Green Chamber, the Nigerian Diaspora Community wrote the lawmakers to express their grievance over the Deputy Speaker’s position.

In the letter, the Diaspora Community made five demands made five demands from Wase, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila and the entire Green Chamber.

The community said it’s making the demands in order not to escalate the matter to an irreparable level,

The demands are:
a) A full retraction of this unfortunate statement by the Deputy Speaker;
b) An unconditional public apology from the Deputy Speaker to the Nigerians
in Diaspora Community;
c) That Hon. Mark Gilbah be allowed to present the motion for and on behalf
of Mutual Unions of Tiv in America’ as a concerned group of Nigerians in Diaspora;
d) That the Rt. Honourable Speaker convenes an urgent Virtual Meeting with the Nigerians in Diaspora community to address this issue and to reassure us of his full support.
The Diaspora community threatened to “call out all Nigerians in Diaspora to withhold further home remittances with immediate effect.” should the House do anything that falls short of their requests “within 14 days upon the receipt of their letter,
By accepting the bill today, the Speaker has fulfilled one of the demands of the Diaspora Community.