The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, has said Nigerians in Diaspora are not eligible to file petitions against the Federal Government on issues regarding insecurity.
Idris stated this on Thursday, March 11, at a plenary while sitting in for the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The Deputy Speaker questioned a petition presented by a lawmaker, Mark Gbillah, representing Gwer East/Gwer West Constituency of Benue State.
The petition was filed by “Mutual Union of the Tiv in America” on insecurity in Benue, Nasarawa, and Taraba states.
The petition presented by Gbillah, accused the federal government of not resettling the Tiv people displaced from their ancestral land through various attacks in the region.
It was gathered that thousands of citizens were displaced due to the farmers/herders crisis.
Arise TV quoted the Deputy Speaker as saying, “I have a petition from the Mutual Union of the Tiv in America against the federal government of Nigeria and the issue has to do with the ancestral land of the Tiv people that seems to have been possessed in recent times through various attacks and the fact that they are languishing in IDP camps till date without any intervention”.
The Deputy Speaker in his response said, “did you say Tivs in America? What do they know about Nigeria? What is their business?
“If this petition is coming from those who are within the country, I believe it has a very block standard. But those living in America, then coming to lodge complaint here”.
He argued that those in disapora are in their comfort zone, therefore they are not aware of happenings in the country.
Speaking further, Gbillah said the association consists of Nigerians, some of whom are studying.
He however insisted he is not convinced the house would take the petition.
Meanwhile, the video of the incident has gone viral springing up reactions from the social media. Many Nigerians have been lambasting Wase referring to the statement as insensitive.
A former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, said on Twitter, “So, the House of Representatives can so blithely strip Nigerians outside the borders of the country of their citizenship and rights?
“Is it ignorance or bias or biased ignorance that drives this presiding officer in this piece of inspired parliamentary silliness? he asked, rather rhetorically.