Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase has declared Nigerians in the Diaspora have no right sending petitions to the House on issues happening in Nigeria.
Specifically, he said they have no right to complain about insecurity since they don’t live around.
Wase, who represents Wase Federal Constituency, Plateau State, said this at a plenary last Thursday while sitting in for Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
He said Nigerians who sit in their comfort zones abroad are not eligible to file petitions against the Federal Government on issues regarding insecurity.
He spoke when a lawmaker, Mark Gbillah, representing Gwer East-Gwer West constituency of Benue State, attempted to submit a petition filed by Mzough U Tiv Amerika on insecurity in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba.
Gbillah had explained he was submitting the petition on behalf of MUTA because indigenes of the affected states had been sacked from their ancestral lands.
Before he could speak further, however, Wase, who is of the ruling All Progressives Congress, said: “Honourable Gbillah, did you say Tivs in America? What do they know about Nigeria?
“What is their business? They can’t sit in their comfort zones and know what is happening in Nigeria.”
The Deputy Speaker argued Nigerians abroad have no rights to file a petition on the crisis, stating that it would be understandable “if this petition is coming from those who are within the country.”
Gbillah argued that Nigerians abroad should be able to file complaints because they have family members residing in the state.
Wase quickly countered by asking if MUTA was duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
But Gbillah responded by saying Section 40 of the constitution does not stop citizens from freedom of association.
Gbillah argued that Nigeria had been pursuing a policy of inclusiveness for its citizens in the Diaspora, an aim that would easily be defeated if the same category of Nigerians cannot be allowed to speak on raging matters of national concern.
“I’ll refer you to the functions of the committee on Diaspora, if you go through that, it is nothing relevant to what you’re now presenting, I’m not convinced that we have to take that petition,” Wase said.
Gbillah’s petition was subsequently rejected without any opposition from any member in the chamber.