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Security debate: Reps turn back representatives of service chiefs during plenary

Security debate: Reps turn back representatives of service chiefs during plenary
November 16
12:54 2023

The house of representatives, on Thursday, turned back representatives of security chiefs from the green chamber. 

The chiefs — Christopher Musa (chief of defence staff), Taoreed Lagbaja (chief of army staff), Emmanuel Ogalla (chief of naval staff), Hassan Abubakar (chief of air staff), and Kayode Egbetokun (inspector-general of police) — were invited by the lower legislative chamber to brief the lawmakers on the security situation in the country.

However, the security chiefs sent their proxies who were rejected by the lawmakers.

Moving a motion that the debate be suspended over the non-appearance of the chiefs, Ben Kalu, deputy speaker, said such a high-level engagement did not require representation.


“The house extended an invitation to the heads of the security agencies, not for the purposes of investigation but for dialogue and explanation of the things around that space,” he said.

“It behooves the agencies to send their number one officers because the parliament is the number one organ of government.

“The gentlemen they have sent (representatives) have a great profile and pedigree. They have served the nation in various capacities and are competent to discuss with us.


“But in this case, based on the provisions of sections 88 and 89 (of the constitution), it has not been satisfied before the house that their top officers — number one officers — should not appear before the parliament.

“It has been the tradition of the house that when we invite chief executives — be it private or public sector — they must come in person. I want to pray that we don’t break this sacred tradition of our house less we will be taken for granted.”

When the speaker of the house, Tajudeen Abbas, put the issue to a voice vote, the ‘ayes’ were loud, but when he called for ‘nays’, a profound silence engulfed the chamber.

Abbas then told the service chiefs that the house “does not encourage and accept representation, particularly at this high level engagement”.


“Please, convey our message to your service chiefs,” he said.

The speaker rescheduled the meeting to next Tuesday.

The invitation was part of the policy brief series for key ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.

Tagged ‘Sectoral Debates,’ the series is the speaker’s initiative to improve constitutional oversight of the executive arm of government in line with the legislative agenda for the 10th assembly.


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