House of Reps says Speaker not targeting Aregbesola over Correctional Service probe
House of Representatives on Thursday said Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila is not targetting interior minister Rauf Argebesola with their decision to probe spending in the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS).
The House in a statement expressed displeasure that a section of the media misrepresented its resolution by claiming that it was a political fight initiated by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and targeted at Argebesola.
The lawmakers said it was high time the “unfortunate development”, intended to distract the House from addressing pressing national matters, was stopped.
“A case in hand was the resolution the House passed on Wednesday mandating its Committee on Reformatory Institutions to investigate the appalling working conditions, lack of facilities and the poor welfare of the personnel and inmates of the Nigeria Correctional Service,” House of Reps said.
“The House had said services at most correctional centres had not improved in spite of the over N165billion budgetary allocations made to the NCS in the last 2years.
House of Reps explained that the motion to probe NCS was moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Nndudi Elumelu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker.
On Thursday, members expressed displeasure over the deliberate misrepresentation of a joint House resolution that had now been erroneously reduced to a personal political fight between the speaker and the minister.
It was a PDP member, Rep Onofiok Luke, who came under the point of privilege to express displeasure and disbelief over the action of a section of the media.
Luke insisted that the motion had nothing to do with Gbajabiamila as a person but a normal parliamentary decision seeking to investigate how funds budgeted for government agencies were utilised.
“It was not the decision of Mr Speaker, but the decision of the entire House,” Luke said. “This morning, there was a distortion of the resolution in a section of the media.
“This was a motion sponsored by the Minority Leader of the House to investigate the sordid state of @CorrectionsNg, despite the N165bn budgeted for its operations in the last years.”
Luke also noted that it was instructive that it was the opposition that moved the motion and not the majority caucus of the APC, which served the interest of both the speaker and the minister.
He stated that other resolutions previously passed by the House for the primary purpose of making institutions perform better, as against fighting the individuals heading them.
Gbajabiamila said, “It’s unfortunate that this was misrepresented to mean a political fight initiated by the speaker against the minister of interior.
“We all read the unfortunate slant that was given to the well thought-out motion by the minority leader.
“It’s the privilege of the entire @HouseNGR that was breached; it is aimed at distracting us.
“These are things that we ordinarily should ignore. More of it will still come, especially as we move toward the 2023 elections.”