OrderPaperToday – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, warned that the parliament would not allow itself to be subjected to contempt or criminal extortion by any public official.
The Speaker was reacting to a motion raised by Beni Lar (PDP, Plateau) on the breach of the House privilege by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs. Amina Mohammed Shamaki who, along with directors in the ministry, recently walked out on a public hearing.
Dogara said it beats his imagination that a civil or public servant could walk out on a Committee of the National Assembly with impunity, adding that it had set a negative precedence and cannot be allowed to go without being punished.
“We cannot allow any contempt or criminal extortion of the House. It still beats my imagination that a civil or public servant can leave a Parliament and direct others to do same. It has not happened anywhere in the world and the House is not taking it lightly,” Dogara warned
He continued: “These are disconcerting signs that something is wrong. And anyone still in doubt of contempt, this is it.”
Earlier in her motion, Lar narrated how Mrs. Shamaki stormed out of an ongoing public hearing organised by a Committee of the House of Representatives and directed Directors in the Ministry to follow suit.
She explained that Shamaki’s action was in addition to the fact that she had violated “all known civil service rules” for which she was being investigated by the Committee.
Speaking in favor of the matter, Uzuma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Abia) described the action of the Permanent Secretary as a sacrilege far greater than even stealing a mace, calling on the House to take urgent and strict action to sanction the concerned official so as to avoid a repeat.
“Mr. Speaker, this is a sacrilege far greater than even stealing a mace. I suggest we take urgent action. The laws are there to sanction this Perm Sec.”, Abonta noted.
Speaking in same vein, Mr. Alhassan Doguwa (APC, Kano), reiterated that the action of the Permanent Secretary was a “contempt of Parliament,” which is unacceptable.
Ruling on the motion, Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, mandated the House Committee on Justice to investigate the issue and report back to the House within two weeks for further legislative input.