The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a vote of no confidence on the two ministers manning the ministry of mines and steel development, Kayode Fayemi and Abubakar Bawa Bwari respectively.
Members of the House were angry that the two ministers boycotted an invitation personally signed by Speaker Yakubu Dogara to appear before them at plenary on Thursday as part of sectoral debate on how to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The lawmakers said it was unfortunate and a clear case of contempt of the parliament for Fayemi and Bwari to say that they would not attend the session due to other engagements when their ministry is at the centre stage of the Ajaokuta Company. Thus, the lawmakers resolved to constitute a powerful adhoc panel to investigate why the company has been comatose and the role of the two ministers in the allegations of under hand dealings on plans to concession the steel plant.
The lawmakers said the two ministers would not be granted any form of audience henceforth by the House due to their behaviour. Speaker Dogara had at the opening of the session told his colleagues that the ministers said they would not attend the session due to other serious engagements.
He said it was an attempt to boycott the session. Speaking, House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila said he considered the ministers’ attitude as contempt of the House. “You personally signed the letter to them, unfortunately none of the ministers could sign their reply. Rather, they asked the PS to respond to you two weeks after.
“The invitation that hasn’t been honoured is a serious contempt. This presentation gives ample opportunity for fair hearing. There are allegations. I believe we should take this matter seriously. Whatever we should do here today should be moved to a powerful investigative hearing.
Steel is probably more than the oil. Whatever we have in this chamber has a touch of steel in it. One of them was part of us here. “I will personally take it as an assault to the common sense of this country for the two minister to ignore, pupu and scorn an invitation of this chamber.”
Also, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa said: “At a point when the leadership of the country is talking about diversification of the economy, we have found the gold. But these relevant ministries are not ready to cooperate. “What we do here is not about you but it’s for and on behalf of the generality of the people of Nigeria. For any minister to undermine an invitation of this House is to say the least unfortunate. “This is an intervention for us to save this nation from economic quagmire. I want to say that at the end of the sectoral debate, we have to take a decisive action.
“Their absence here simply means that there’s something suspicious – absolutely suspicious. Most of the face-off we face with the Executive is as a result of the attitude of these ministers and the rest.” One after the other, members of the House took turn to lament the development, with Rep Zakari Mohammed saying the House should not pass the ministry’s budget until the two ministers tendered unreserved apologies.