Ahmed Wase, the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, says Nigerians abroad have no right to complain about insecurity bedeviling the nation.
Mr Wase who stated this on Thursday while standing in for the speaker of green chamber, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was absent, rejected a petition filed by Mzough U Tiv Amerika (MUTA) on insecurity in Benue, Nasarawa, and Taraba.
The petition, presented by Mark Gbillah from Gwer East/Gwer West, berated the federal government, saying it was displaying non-chalatant attitude towards addressing the hazards of displaced Nigerians as a result of violent herdsmen activities, particularly in central Nigeria.
Arguing that they have no right to question the government, the deputy speaker said it would be comprehensible if the petition is coming from those who are within the country.
“Honourable Gbillah, did you say Tivs in America? What do they know about Nigeria? What is their business? They can’t sit in their comfort zones and know what is happening in Nigeria,” Mr Wase said.
In response, Mr Gbillah explained that Nigerians abroad have family members who are at times victims of insecurity.
“Some of them are just studying, some just went they to do courses and they’re a union and are Nigerian citizens,” the Benue lawmaker argued and cited section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution which recognises freedom of association.
But the Deputy Speaker queried if MUTA was registered with the Corporate Affairs of Commission (CAC) to begin with but was countered on grounds that Nigeria has been pursuing a policy of inclusiveness for its citizens in the Diaspora, an aim that would easily be defeated if the same category of Nigerians cannot be allowed to speak on raging matters of national concern.
“I’ll refer you to the functions of the committee on diaspora, if you go through that, it is nothing relevant to what you’re now presenting, I’m not convinced that we have to take that petition,” the presider said.
Chidi Odinkalu who shared a video clip of the debate on Twitter condemned the comments of the top lawmaker.