Lawmaker Walks Out Of Plenary, Levels Accusation Against Deputy Speaker

The lawmaker representing the Bonny/Degema federal constituency of Rivers State, Cyril Hart, on Tuesday, accused the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, of sidelining new legislators during debates.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain made the allegation during plenary.

The lawmaker made the claim after Ahmed Jaha, the legislator representing the Damboa/Gwoza/Chibok federal constituency, moved a motion condemning the recent suicide bombings in Borno.

Several lawmakers, including Yusuf Gagdi, chairman of the committee on navy; Idris Wase, former deputy speaker; Babajimi Benson, chairman of the committee on defence; and Dasuki Abdussama from Sokoto state, were recognized to contribute to the motion.

Nearly all the lawmakers who contributed to the debate are ranking members.

Kalu was about to put the motion to a voice vote when Hart raised a point of order.

Hart said, as some legislators cheered him on, “You don’t give preference to first-timers… you don’t.”

The lawmaker said “virtually all lawmakers” Kalu recognized to debate the motion are “old timers”.

He said, “This is what you always do. You need to allow for first-timers.”

Responding, Kalu said, “There is no discrimination in the parliament”.

He explained that lawmakers are recognized to speak based on their seating arrangements, adding that if someone is not in the designated row, they may be overlooked.

At this point, Hart exited the green chamber, shouting as he did so.