By EricJames Ochigbo
Abuja – Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Ahmed Wase has mandated the Committee on Ethics and Privilege to investigate four members of the House over their roles in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus.
This followed a Matter of Privilege by Rep. Ben Igbekpa (PDP-Delta) at the plenary on Wednesday.
Earlier, Igbakpa said that Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution provides that the House of Representatives shall have powers to regulate its own procedure.
According to him, this is supported by Order 1 (1) and (2) of the Standing Orders of this green chamber.
“It is was common knowledge that on July 3, the Speaker, in line with Order 7 Rule 8 of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, announced the Minority Leaders of the House.
“This was consequently published in the Votes and Proceedings of the same date.
“In spite of this, Rep. Kingsley Chinda, Rep. Chukwuma Onyema, Rep. Umar Barde and Reo.Muraina Ajibola are parading themselves as PDP Caucus Leader, Deputy Caucus Leader, Minority Whip and Deputy Minority Whip.
“They have been issuing public statements outside the nomenclature of this House, misleading the general public and causing confusion and disaffection in the House of Representatives.
“This is a gross abuse of our collective and individual privileges,” he said.
According to him, it violates Section 24, Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, Cap L.12, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004 as well extant provisions of the Standing Orders of this House.
In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker read the matter to the House Committee on Ethics and Privilege for investigation.
Meanwhile Chinda had insisted that he is the leader of the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives.
In a statement, Chinda said that the PDP was a registered party and a creation of Law and not the Rules of the House.
“I am the PDP Caucus leader in the House with the authority and consent of the party,” he said.
According to him, the PDP has its leaders in units, communities, among students, traders, professionals and parliamentarians.
He explained that the leaders were recognised by the party, saying that he had the mandate of the PDP to act as its leader in the House.
Chinda said that other minority parties were free to have their caucus leadership.
NAN reports that Chinda was nominated by the PDP to be the Minority Leader of the House but Rep. Ndudi Elumelu was announced by the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila to occupy the office following a letter signed by members of the minority parties in the House.