Members of the House of Representatives yesterday criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for travelling to Brazil for the United Nations conference on climate change when hundreds of Nigerians are being killed and maimed in several cities, saying he abdicated his duty.
The members stated this while debating a motion sponsored by Rep Yakubu Barde (PDP, Kaduna) who came under matters of urgent national importance over the Sunday bombings of three churches in Kaduna State and the reprisal attacks that followed.
The legislators unanimously voted summoning President Jonathan to come back home from Brazil. The House resolution invited the President and the security chiefs to address the House at a closed-door session on the insecurity situation in the country.
Representative Emma-nuel Jime (PDP, Benue) said: “There is an abdication of responsibility on the part of the President. So far what we have is a statement by his spokesman to say that he is too engaged with state issues than to talk about Boko Haram,” Rep. Jime added.
Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila (ACN, Lagos) also criticised the President for contravening the oath of office he swore on May 29th 2011 by travelling “to far away to Brazil to engage in climate conference when a state capital is under siege for hours.”
“We must begin to look elsewhere for solution, drastic situations calls for drastic measures. We have power of oversights not only on the National Security Adviser but also on the President himself”, the Minority Leader said.
In her submission, Rep. Olajumoke Okoya-Thomas (ACN, Lagos), said if the President knows that he can’t handle the situation ‘he should step down’. “We should issue marching order to the President in view of the security situation,” she said.
Rep. Jerry Manwe (PDP, Taraba) said: “Is Mr. President scared? Is the IGP scared? Are there some people that cannot be arrested? If the President knows who is behind Boko Haram he should go after them otherwise nobody should come and tell us that they are on top of the situation”.
“Ali Modu Sheriff is today walking the street of Nigeria, Jonathan must now demonstrate that he has the will power to handle it, he can no longer be telling us that this is a phenomenon. He said even in his cabinet there are Boko Haram symphatisers but it means that he is the only person who has the custody of information about their sponsors,” Jime said.
Speaking shortly after the motion was passed, Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal lamented that he was quoted out of context when he issued statement on the Sunday bomb blast and reprisal attacks in Kaduna state through his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam saying, “my stance has always been known on issue of terrorism; I have always spoken against the perpetrators, therefore I crave the indulgence of those desperately looking for what to use to smear my name to please leave me alone”.
Although no date was set for the appearance of the President before the House, this would be the first time that the House has summoned the President since assuming office in February 2010 after he was declared Acting President by a resolution of the both chambers of the National Assembly.
Meanwhile three opposition parties; Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) also condemned the President Jonathan for embarking on the Brazil trip while Yobe and Kaduna States when dozens of Nigerians wee being killed and maimed. ACN said it is a sign of incompetence and confused leadership.