The House adamantly rejected the representatives, insisting on the personal attendance of the key officials.
The House of Representatives has summoned the nation’s top security brass to appear in person at the Sectorial Debates, a parliamentary initiative aimed at addressing critical issues of national importance.
The summoned officials include the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, and the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.
Pursuant to Order 17, Rules 1(3) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Service Chiefs were expected to discuss their constitutional duties concerning the safeguarding of lives, property, and the territorial integrity of the nation.
However, the parliamentary session took an unexpected turn when the Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police sent representatives to the meeting. The House, determined to uphold the gravity of the occasion, adamantly rejected the representatives, insisting on the personal attendance of the key officials.
House Leader, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, attempted to salvage the situation by moving a motion to allow the representatives to speak on behalf of their principals. The motion, however, faced stiff opposition and was defeated.
Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu argued against the acceptance of representatives, stating the tradition that chief executives, whether in the private or public sector, must attend in person.
He expressed concern that deviation from this tradition might be perceived as a compromise.
Kalu stated, “I want to pray that we don’t break this sacred tradition of our House, lest we be taken for granted.”
Following the objection, the Deputy Speaker proposed the suspension of the sectoral engagement until the leaders of the invited agencies, the Service Chiefs, appear in person. The motion was seconded and promptly adopted by the House through a voice vote.
Speaker Abbas Tajuddeen conveyed the House’s stance, expressing gratitude for the representatives’ presence and understanding the tight schedules of the Service Chiefs.
He announced the rescheduling of the Sectorial Debate to the following Tuesday, November 14, 2023, urging the Service Chiefs to personally address the House, respond to queries, and provide necessary explanations.