The war of words between members of the House of Representatives over Ali Pantami saga has continued.
On Saturday, the Spokesperson of the House, Benjamin Kalu in a statement, insisted that the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu used the wrong order in his legislative intervention.
The statement was in response to a press statement by the Spokesperson of the Minority Caucus, Francis Agbo, who said on Friday that Mr Kalu erroneously misrepresented legislative proceedings on the point of order raised by Elumelu.
It would be recalled that Mr Elumelu had on Wednesday raised a point of Order on Privilege. Elumelu in his point of order called for resignation of the Minister for alleged link to extremists.
Mr Kalu, in his statement, insisted that the House will entertain a motion on Pantami if properly presented as a motion of urgent public importance or motion on notice.
“The House acknowledges the severity of the issue and its nature as a matter of public concern. As always, the House stands ready to give audience to Rep. Ndudi Elumelu or any other member of the House on this issue, provided that such audience is sought through the proper channels and brought under the relevant rules of the House,” the statement reads in part.
Mr Kalu explained why the use of Order 6 rule 1 and 2 was erroneous.
“That there are only two motions recognised by the House rules; Motion on Matters of Urgent Public Importance and Motion on Notice, the minority leader could have come under either of these but he erroneously chose to come by way of privileges.
“That the relevant issue raised by Hon Elumelu which is of national importance is inadmissible under privileges for what it seeks to address, since matters under privilege, once breached, must be personal and internal to the House.
“This is why all matters of privilege are sent to the House committee on ethics and privileges, not to the President directly as the house resolution as alleged by the yet to be tutored “spokesman” of the minority caucus. One wonders what the house committee on ethics and privilege will be doing with the sack of Pantami,” he stated.
He also explained that “there is no debate on privileges unless a motion has arisen from it, in which case, it must be seconded before debated in line with the house rules and procedure to a motion.”
The Spokesperson reiterated that the House stands by the legislative procedure as interpreted by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila on Elumelu’s point of order.