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Ghana Places Nigerian Lawmakers On Sponsors Of Terrorism Watch List

a Nigerian lawmaker recounts his reception in Ghana after President Buhari made an 'incriminating' statement in his Independence speech.

Accra airport

The Government of Ghana has placed members of the Nigerian National Assembly on watch list following the allegation made by President Muhammadu Buhari during his Independence Day address that one of the lawmakers was sponsoring secessionist agitation in the country.

Buhari had said in his speech that “the recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind the individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers, including one identified as a serving member of the National Assembly.”

A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ben Igbapka, at the plenary yesterday, moved a motion under Order 6 Rule 2 and Section 17 (A) of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges Act 2017, saying his privilege has been breached by the president’s address.

The lawmaker said a few days ago, he was in Ghana to attend a wedding ceremony, but to his surprise, he was detained for four hours based on the allegation made by Buhari.

He said he was informed by the Ghanaian authorities that they want to make sure that Nigerian lawmakers who had already been tagged as sponsors of terrorism do not come into the country to cause problems.

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Igbapka noted that identifying and not naming the member of the National Assembly, who is allegedly sponsoring secessionist groups in the country, has made all the 469 lawmakers suspects.

The lawmaker said: “As reported by the media across the world, President Buhari in his Independence Day speech told the world that one of us is sponsoring terrorism. IPOB, by what it is to the face of the law today, is a terrorist organisation, even when we have our reservations because the laws of the land and courts have spoken. Mr. Speaker, that means that 469 members of this National Assembly are crime suspects.

“On that fateful day, I went to Akure, Ondo State to be part of the burial ceremony of our fellow colleague, Hon. Expensive. On Saturday, I had to honor an invitation in Ghana for a wedding. Mr. Speaker, it will amaze you what I faced in the hands of Ghanaian officials.

“They detained me for about four hours with the notion that they are trying to confirm something. I stayed at the airport for four hours and missed the wedding I went for. At the end of the day, one of them walked up to me saying sorry sir, there’s an announcement in Nigeria that a member of the parliament is sponsoring terrorism, and we are put on red alert to ensure that no member of parliament comes here to hide or cause trouble.

I had to come back home dejected.”

Igbakpa pointed out that he had been inundated with calls from all over the world, asking him who among the lawmakers is sponsoring terrorism?

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According to him, “The right thing for a father to do is to name and shame any child that’s bringing about division. But the president didn’t shame that person or name him or her, instead he named 469 members-because of the fact that we’ve always cooperated and the fact that Nigeria has a lot to deal with. So, I’m appealing, if not, the right thing to do is to invoke Section 88 of the constitution for them to tell us who among us is sponsoring terrorism.”

Section 88 reads: “Subject to the provisions of this constitution, each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed investigation into-(a) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws,” and Igbapka said going by the president’s allegation, all the lawmakers are prime suspects.He, therefore, appealed to the leadership of the House to liaise with their counterparts in the Senate to have an audience with Buhari so that he can name the sponsor of terrorism among the lawmakers.

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The lawmaker reminded the House of “our constitutional responsibilities of lawmaking as enshrined in Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution as amended,” and also reminded the House of the principle of separation of powers, meaning no arm of government is superior to the other.

He said the president should commence the prosecution of the individual, and if convicted, should have been completely shamed, as it is wrong to throw a blanket accusation on an arm of government.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said Igbapka’s motion is noted, adding that the House would get back to him on that.

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