The House of Representatives has passed a vote of no confidence on the Minister of Mines and Steel Kayode Fayemi and his deputy, Minister of State, Abubakar Bwari for failing its invitation to address the parliament on the state of the nation’s steel sector with particular reference to the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
Though the non appearance of the two Ministers did not affect the commencement of the sectional debate, the House is to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate the state of Ajaokuta Steel Company that was 98 percent completed since 1993 but has remained stagnated till date.
The lawmakers said the attitude of the two Ministers has lent credence to insinuations that there were too many incompetent Ministers in the government of the day.
The decision of the House followed the adoption of a motion by the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, who said the attitude of the two Ministers amounted to lack of courtesy for the parliament despite being informed of the importance of the debate to the Nigerian economy.
After his opening remarks, Speaker Yakubu Dogara explained why the need for the sectoral debate was meant to prevent the sector and the steel company from imminent total collapse.
He said that the Ministers could not claim ignorance of the invitation having been written on 16th February, adding that the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary replied the letter.
The lawmakers were angered.
Reacting to the Ministers’ absence, Hassan Ado Doguwa, Chief Whip of the House said the non-appearance of the two Ministers was an affront on the entire people of Nigeria being their elected representatives.
“This attitude is unfortunate, unacceptable and we cannot tolerate it, no one should undermine the parliament in the name of being a Minister”, he said.
Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde said the attitude of the two Ministers has shown that being members of the party in government, the two have no respect for their leaders.
While he said his reaction was non partisan, he urged his colleagues to apply the law on the two.
Umar Bago (APC, Niger) said the unnecessary romance of the House with the Executive arm of government has ended with the attitude of the Ministers.
“Its time to draw the line, because they have over crossed the line,” he added.
Aminu Shagari (APC, Sokoto) said the event of the day was the constant frustration of Committees of the House go through in the hands of Chief Executive Officers of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government,
Uzoma Nkem-Abonta(PDP, Abia) said the attitude of the Ministers was not only painful but worrisome, describing the absence as executive rascality, “I don’t think they know the effect of this affront on the Legislature because of the effect this is likely to generate.
“There must be a sanction; they are just ignorant because they ought to know the provisions of the constitution to know the implications of their actions.
“This confirms the insinuations that we have too many incompetent Ministers. I suggest that they be made to appear immediately,” he said.
Zakari Mohammed (APC, Kwara) said it was the obligation of the parliament to check the excesses of the legislature, “They must tender an apology and be summoned to appear before us and be arrested if they refused again” he said.
The Speaker said the House has all the tools to make the Ministers appear before the House at plenary after which he put to the motion to vote and was unanimously adopted.