Shi’ites: Drama as Reps differ over El-Zakzaky’s release

Debate over a motion seeking an intervention of the House of Representatives in the lingering protests of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) turned dramatic Tuesday over a suggestion that Kaduna state government be called upon to release leader of the movement , Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

A member, Herman Hembe had in a proposed amendment to the prayer of the motion, sponsored by Shamsudeen Bello, requested the federal government to obey a previous court order and release the man from detention. A similar proposal was also introduced by Lynda Ikpeazu, but this time that Kaduna government should release him in obedience to court order.

Confusion set in when Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila who was presiding could not decipher who have the higher number between the nay and ay voice votes. He said “this matter is shaky, we must get it right”.  He subsequently directed the Clerk of the House, to divide the members into two opposing groups.

Attempts at doing that also failed to yield result, as members were seen openly wooing each other. In the process, the session turned rowdy. In the confusion, the Speaker called for an immediate executive session and  journalists were asked to leave the chamber and gallery.

Back in open sitting after about 30 minutes, Gbajabiamila said, “we are back in session, and we can now continue with our proceeding of the day”.

He  did not report what transpired in the closed door session before yielding the floor to Wole Oke to move his amendment, which was for the House to set up an Ad hoc committee to interface with the executive, with a view to permanently address the issue of Shi’ites protests.

“I believe that this is part of our discussion in executive session,” Gbajabiamila said before putting question for votes on the new proposal.

“Hon. Lynda’s amendment has been overtaken by event”, the Speaker submitted. He subsequently announced an eight-member Ad hoc panel for the interface, to be headed by Majority Leader, Alhassan Doguwa

The House had prior to the development approved that the security chiefs be summoned to appear and brief members on efforts so far taken on the development, but no date has been fixed for same.

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