By Christiana Ekpa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The House of Representatives yesterday passed a vote of no confidence on the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and her colleague Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, for refusal to appear at the House plenary on Thursday to debate on the Steel Sector Development in Nigerian.
The House equally accused the two ministers of instructing the Sole Administrator of the Ajaokuta Steel Company, Abubakar Bawa Bwari on what to say; and thus declared them unfit to head their offices.
The House had scheduled Thursday 1 March, pursuant to Order 16, Rule 3 of the House of Representatives to debate on the steel development in the country, after the visit of the Speaker of the House, Hon Yakubu Dogara to the Ajaokuta Steel Company recently.
The position of the Green Chamber followed a motion moved by the House Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who alerted the House of the nonappearance of the Ministers.
The Leader, while moving the motion, described their non-appearance as contempt for the House and executive recklessness.
In his reaction, the Deputy Minority Whip, Rep.Yakubu Bada (PDP Kaduna) lamented that it was very unfortunate that the Speaker signed a letter that was not honored by the two Ministers.
“It is unfortunate that the Speaker signed a letter and the ministers did not honour it. That tells you what the Committee Chairmen go through. Nigerians should know this is what we are going through here.
“Everyone of us came here to serve the government and the people; and I am happy that APC government is in charge here, yet we have the Speaker calling APC ministers who refused to honor him.”
Rep Bada called that “Action must be taken to set example for others. It is unbecoming for the ministers. Why are they afraid to come out and face us? Are they afraid of experts?” he questioned.
Contributing, Hon. Ado Doguwa (APC Kano) urged the House to take a decisive decision that will save the country from economic crisis, saying the nonappearance of the ministers connotes a wrong signal.
“It is unfortunate that the ministers are undermining our duties. Their nonappearance simply means there is something fishy. They are too busy to honour our invitation.
“We must take a decisive decision to save Nigeria from this economic hardship confronting us right now,” he stressed.
Contributing to the debate, Hon Aminu Shehu Shagri, (APC Sokoto) noted that “What is happening today in the country is an executive rascality. There should be a sanction on the ministers who are not performing. What we have today are incompetent ministers.
“Mr. Speaker, order the arrest of the ministers. Let us have legislative rascality to executive rascality.”
Also, Zaraki Muhammed (APC Kwara), who asked the House to stop the budget of the ministries until they cooperate with legislators, said the action of the ministers was a conspiracy of silence.
“Their budget should not be looked into until they decide to cooperate with us. They know, too well, that they are just carrying out conspiracy of silence,” he said.
But the reaction of the lawmakers got worst when the Majority Leader Gbajabiamila, prayed the House to set up a powerful Ad-hoc committee to look into the Steel issue, thereby giving the ministers fair hearing for the second time, which the lawmakers overwhelmingly turned down by shouting NO at him.
It took the intervention of Speaker Dogara, who asked the leader to reframe the prayer to calm the House.
The Majority Leader, in his final motion, moved that the House pass vote of no confidence on the ministers, which was overwhelmingly supported by the lawmakers with a loud YEA.
The Speaker, however, read a test massage from the Minister of Finance, Adeosun informing the House that she will be present at 4pm, few seconds after putting the question to vote.