The House of Representatives has postponed the Sectoral debate billed to commence on Thursday following the failure of the Service Chiefs to appear in person for the event.
The Service Chiefs who failed to honour the invitation by the House of Reps include the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, and Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun.
They were invited to appear today as part of the Sectorial Debates introduced by the House Pursuant to Order 17, Rules 1(3) of the Standing Orders of the House.
The Service Chiefs were to meet the parliament on their constitutional responsibilities to ensure the security of lives and property as well as the territorial integrity of the nation.
The Service Chiefs and the IGP, however, sent in representatives who were sent back by the House on the ground that the heads were to appear in person.
The representatives were introduced into the Chamber after a motion by the House Leader, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo) which was seconded by Aliyu Sani Madaki (NNPP, Kano).
But after the self-introduction by the representatives of the service chiefs and the IGP, the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, objected, saying that although the representatives were competent in their capacities, they would be allowed to speak on behalf of their principals.
He said, “Mr Speaker, I want to move, that Chief Executives, be it private sector or public sector, they must come in person. I want to pray that we don’t break this sacred tradition of our House lest we be taken for granted.
“I therefore move that this sectoral engagement be suspended until the leaders of the agencies that we invited who are our friends, who are working for Nigeria, people we are proud of, come. They should come to address us, take our questions and explain certain things to us.”
After the Deputy Speaker’s motion which was seconded by Nnolim Nnaji, the Speaker, Abbas Tajuddeen, put the motion to a voice vote and was adopted by the House.
He said, “Our dear brothers, you have heard from the House in an emphatic manner, that this House does not encourage, does not accept representation, particularly at this high-level engagement.
“We thank you for coming. Please convey our message to your service chiefs, that we understand the tight schedules they have and we are willing to make an adjustment to reschedule this engagement to Tuesday next week for them to appear in person.”