By Christiana Ekpa and Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of representatives yesterday denied the alleged publication that members of the House collected the sum of $30,000 dollars each to change the sequence of the 2019 general elections in the country.
This followed a point of order of privilege raised by Mr. Danburam Nuhu (APC, Kano) during plenary on Wednesday.
Nuhu while on the floor described the allegation as one meant to discredit the House as an institution.
“I am beginning to worry that my constituents are now doubting my integrity,” he said.
“ I want the House to support this matter, so that the House committee on Ethics and Privilege can investigate this matter which is alleged to tarnish our images as members of Parliament.
This allegation led to discomfort that attracted much debate from members including the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara who presided.
House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila described the allegation as a slap on the face of members of Parliament, stressing that the matter should not be taken to Ethics and Privilege Committee as being requested by members, because it will amount to the House being a judge in its own court.
In his words: “The House should take action on the suit of defamation. It is time for the House to nail the issue. There is need for reaccreditation of journalists covering the National Assembly.”
Gbajabiamila backed up his claim on the House right by stating that it is in the constitution that when the House is defamed it can go to court.
Earlier, Mr. Tajudeen Yusuf (PDP, Kogi) in his contribution to the debate, said the publication was not done by a particular medium but was a washed in the social media, and so, should be investigated.
Mr. Hassan Saleh (APC, Benue) called for the need to sensitize the public on the alleged scandalous report. He described the publication as an irresponsible journalism.
“I am worried the way journalists write and publish stories without confirmation. We are not corrupt. We did not collect any money. No amount of allegation will stop us from performing our duties as legislature, “ Mr. Aliyu Madaki (APC, Kano) said.
In his submission, the presiding officer, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said, “It is the Ethics and Privilege Committee that will look into the matter, to know whether the House privilege has been breached.”
According to Dogara, “I don’t think it is right to go to court. So the matter is referred to Ethics and Privilege Committee for further investigation.”