The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has kicked against a closed-door public hearing by the House of Representatives on the Control of Infectious Disease Bill.
CUPP, in a statement by its national spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere on Wednesday, therefore, called on members of the House of Representatives to rise against Speaker Gbajabiamila over the development.
“Nigerians have been treated to yet another shocking episode in the desperation of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila to force the compromised, plagiarized and sponsored Control of Infectious Diseases Bill down the throat of Nigerians,” Ugochinyere said.
The House of Reps was said to have only allowed Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and Channels Television to cover the public hearing on the controversial bill while locking other members of the Reps Press Corps out from the venue of the event.
But Ugochinyere said, “Nigerians had expected a real public hearing that would have also afforded the Speaker the forum to clear his name from the allegations that he was in possession of external mobilization for the bill to be passed alas, the public hearing which was forced on him is now being held in the secret.
“This is the first time in modern democracy that the world is witnessing a secret public hearing.
“Speaker Gbajabiamila continues to desecrate the Nigerian Parliament daily. The integrity, worth, essence and glory of the House of Representatives has departed and members of the House who still have honour, and they are in the majority, must start mobilizing for legislative fight on the floor of the parliament if the already compromised outcome of today’s secret ‘Owambe’ called public hearing is presented on the floor of the House.
“Chasing Journalists away from the venue of the public hearing is a shameful barbaric conduct that can only be seen in Museveni’s Uganda Parliament or parliaments of places like Somalia, Zimbabwe and Burundi.
“How did we get to a point that a man… can hold all of us, especially, House of Representatives to political ransom without the lawmakers rising up to take him down.
“This same Speaker Gbajabiamila set up an unlawful ad hoc Committee headed by (a PDP turned APC agent) Hon. Henry Nwawuba to investigate the spokesman of the CUPP where he mobilized all the media houses while also allowing the halls to be filled to capacity.
“Yet today, he believes the only group of Nigerians who would make the hall to be rowdy is the media whose duty it is to inform millions of Nigerians who are not inside that hall that their views have been heard and that the bill has been rejected.
“Public activities of the House are now shrouded in secrecy and only Speaker Gbajabiamila can tell Nigerians why!”
Ugochinyere reiterated on the call for all opposition lawmakers, who have not compromised the peoples struggle and indeed lawmakers from the ruling party, to mobilize to resist the secret public hearing report consideration on the floor of the House for the sake of the Nigerian people.
“The House must stop the Speaker to avoid carrying the tag of House of Political Alleluia Boys where anything including making a legislation to turn a man into a woman or white into black can happen without questions or resistance
“It is time to take back the peoples Parliament before the Speaker burns it down and destroy our hard fought democracy,” he added.