Xenophobic attacks: Reps warn Foreign Affairs minister, vow to report activities to Buhari

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of Femi]
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of Femi]

Members of the House of Representatives are angry with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, over his refusal to address them on the recent xenophobic attacks in Africa.

The speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, made this known after a debate on the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The speaker vowed to forward the matter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

At least, five people have been killed in the attacks targeting foreigners of African descent. The Nigerian government, however, said no Nigerian was killed.

Mr Gbajabiamila said he had been briefed by the chairman of House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yusuf, on how the minister repeatedly failed to honour the committee’s invitation.

“What I considered as a nagging problem, and I am speaking directly to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“The Minister has been asked on several occasions since this incident broke, by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and once, by the leadership of the House, for a full and proper briefing on what happened – what transpired in South Africa; because it is only when the committee or the leadership sees the facts that we can actually address the issues properly.”

“It is unfortunate that on all those occasions, the minister has not responded to the chairman’s invitation. And even when the chairman wrote on my behalf that the leadership needed to meet with the minister, he did not respond,” Mr Gbajabiamila said.

He said as one government, their primary function is to serve the interest of Nigerians.

“Let use this platform to send a direct appeal to the Minister of Foreign Affair, and all the ministers for that matter, that we need to respect the invitation that comes from this House, and particularly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs because of an issue that is so important.”

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“I would want to refer him to the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Sections 88 and 89. And that is all I have to say on that matter; to refer him to the provisions of Section 88 and Section 89.

“And I will be discussing further with Mr President on the issue. I think if respect is reciprocal; if the House invites any member of the executive in our pursuit of happiness for all, then I think that should be respected.”

The speaker had a week ago stated that the house would deal seriously with members of the executive who do not honour invitations to appear for public or investigative hearings.

Mr Gbajabiamila said this while receiving the Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dasuki Arabi, on Wednesday in Abuja.

“We are going to launch our legislative agenda and reforms in the next two weeks.

“There is a perennial problem this 9th House is going to deal with very seriously and it is the situation when the House summons a member of the executive and they do not show up.

“It does not benefit anybody, the 9th House is going to use all constitutional powers to make sure that it becomes a thing of the past.

“No democracy grows without collaboration between the legislative and the executive arms of government.

“We shall ensure that there shall be consequences when a public servant is summoned and does not show up,” he said.

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