The northern caucus in the house of representatives has denied reports that it plans to initiate an impeachment process against Femi Gbajabiamila, if he fails to support the controversial water resources bill.
At plenary on Tuesday, Sarki Ardar, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and chairman of the northern caucus, raised a point of privilege and called the attention of his colleagues to an online report.
According to the lawmaker, the report alleged that northern lawmakers who are “bent on making sure the bill succeeds” have “plotted” to impeach Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, if he does not support the proposed legislation to pass second reading.
TheCable had reported how the controversial bill was reintroduced in the house of representatives in June by Sada Soli, lawmaker from Katsina state.
Several Nigerians have rejected the proposed legislation, which aims to provide a regulatory framework for the country’s water resources.
The bill dates back to the eighth national assembly when it was first sent to the parliament by the executive.
Since its reintroduction in the national assembly in June, Nigerians, including civil society organisations (CSO), have kicked against it and asked lawmakers to suspend legislative work on the bill.
Also speaking against the allegation of impeachment, Hassan Fulata, chairman of the committee on rules and business, described it as “cheap blackmail”.
“Nobody can dictate to this house what it can do. We cannot take from our members and we cannot take from a foreign imperialist. Nobody can tell us how to do our job,” he said.
“All members are solidly behind speaker Gbajabiamila. Some of us suffered tremendously in the last assembly. There is no way we will impeach Femi because of the so-called water resources bill. This is cheap blackmail.
“If the bill passes, fine. If the bill fails to pass, fine. It will be based on solid arguments.”
Idris Wase, deputy speaker of the house who presided over plenary, also said he was not aware of any plot to impeach the speaker.
“There is nothing like that going on to the best of my knowledge. I am a northerner,” he said.
“I want to plead with my colleagues to toe the line of what has been mentioned to us; to trust one another; to believe that we are working as a family. We should not be carried by emotions and sentiments towards dividing us. We remain the symbol of democracy in this country and in any nation, the parliament is a symbol of democracy.”
Wase said the report was “implanted” as a “gang-up” against members of the house.
“For me, I want to say we are one, and we are one in terms of our activities,” he added.
Briefing journalists after plenary, Ardar said the report is full of “malicious lies aimed at planting a seed of discord among Nigerians”.
He said Gbajabiamila enjoys the support of all the members of the lower parliament and asked the news outlet to “retract the publication and apologise to the national assembly and northern lawmakers”.
On his part, Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of the house, said there is no plan to impeach Gbajabiamila, adding that the lawmakers are united to support the federal government to tackle insecurity.