By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and his deputy, Hon Idris Wase have expressed utter shock and disappointment that the Service Chiefs boycotted a meeting billed to discuss sensitive security issues with the Leadership of the House.
The presiding officers said they felt insulted that the service chiefs could shun an in invitation duly sent and acknowledged.
Hardly had the meeting come under Friday morning that the speaker expressed his disappointment.
Appearances had been announced by the representatives of the Service Chiefs but Gbajabiamila referred to them as mainly “Accountant”.
Gbajabiamila had filed out with his deputy and other principal officers of the House from both the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
With the exception of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, Comptroller General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede, Director -General of Department of State Services, DSS, Yusuf Bichi who were physically present, the Service Chiefs namely Chief of Defence State, Gen. Gabriel Olonnisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Turkur Buratai, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall, Sadiq Abubakar; Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok, Ete-Ibas sent representatives.
The House had on Thursday enlisted a motion to review the military “Super Camps” in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency in the North East Zone on the Order Paper but the Leadership of the House in its wisdom stepped the motion down so as not to divulge sensitive security issues before the television cameras.
Gbajabiamila asked the sponsor of the Hon. Chuddy to tarry a while until after the scheduled meeting with the service chiefs.
Gbajabiamila said: “The heads are not here. I am aware some of them were somewhere last night. They have shown a disdain for this institution. The budget is on its way. I am almost embarrassed. There was no call placed to my office by the service chiefs to explain why. I am just seeing accountants as representatives. I don’t think this can happen any where in the world.
“We might postpone this meeting till Monday morning. I will personally see Mr. President myself. We are supposed to work as one.
“There was a motion on the floor of the House yesterday on the super camp. It was meant to be discussed. We saw it as leadership. We said no, it is a security matter. We cannot discuss this in the full glare of the public and the cameras. I asked the man who brought the motion to please, step it down and join us in a meeting today.
“We will now bring up that motion on Tuesday since there is nobody to answer our call. “Enough said. We will adjourn this meeting till Monday 10 am.”
Also speaking, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Idris Wase aligned himself with his principal, saying he was insulted.
“I am insulted that this leadership will make a pronouncement saying come and the Service chiefs are not here.
“I want to say that it shouldn’t be tolerated. If this House will make a call and those responsible (service chiefs) will not come…This meeting should not hold. It should be postponed till Monday and there should be no excuse.
“We are the one that will do oversight. Sir, honestly, there should be a reprimand. We will need to speak with Mr President”, he said.