Reps summon Fashola over ‘breach of parliamentary privilege’

The house of representatives has summoned Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, over an alleged breach of parliamentary privilege and public incitement.

The resolution of the house followed a motion sponsored by Sadiq Ibrahim, a lawmaker from Adamawa state.

While moving the motion, Ibrahim said that the minister allegedly inserted state government projects into his ministry’s budget.

Fashola had said some of the provisions in the 2017 budget were “unconstitutional”.

But Ibrahim said while Fashola was entitled to freedom of speech, he breached the privilege of the house by making the statement.

“By this singular act, the minister has breached the privilege of the house,” the lawmaker said.

“Freedom of speech is a constitutional right and everybody has a right to enjoy it, however, Fashola has spoken on an issue agreed upon between the executive and the legislature and laid to rest.

“Fashola abandoned the official channel of communication to the national assembly and decided to go to the media to make his assertions.

“The budget is an act of law and the minister is making a pronouncement on an act clearly signed into law by the acting president.

“There is a need for Fashola to appear before an ad hoc committee to be set up by this house to give answers to his comments which were capable of inciting Nigerians against their representatives.

“It is an attack on all of us and capable of causing friction between the executive and the legislature.”

On his part, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, chief whip of the house, said the minister’s comment did not only breach their privileges as lawmakers but the institution of the national assembly.

“Not only that the minister’s action has breached our privileges individually and collectively as an institution, it has also undermined a budget worked upon by the national assembly and assented to by the acting president,’’ he said

The house adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote by Yakubu Dogara, the speaker.

Fashola is expected to appear before an ad hoc committee chaired by Aliyu Madaki, a lawmaker from Kano state.