The Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, stated this while representing the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, during plenary session on Thursday.
He was reacting to a petition filed against the federal government by Mzough U Tiv Amerika (MUTA) on insecurity in Benue, Nasarawa, and Taraba.
The petition, which was presented by Mark Gbillah from Gwer East/Gwer West, accused the Nigerian government of nonchalance towards the perils facing those who have been displaced as a result of killer herdsmen activities.
In reaction, the Deputy Speaker rejected the petition and argued that Nigerians abroad have no rights to complain about killer herdsmen, stating that it would be understandable “if this 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,” Wase said.
In response, Mr. Gbillah argued that Nigerians abroad should be able to file complaints because they have family members residing in the state.
The Benue lawmaker also maintained that “some of them are just studying, some just went they to do courses and they’re a union and are Nigerian citizens.”
He further made reference to section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution that does not stop citizens from freedom of association.
But the Deputy Speaker questioned whether or not MUTA was even registered with the Corporate Affairs of Commission to begin with.
Mr. Gbillah, however, countered Mr. Wase on the 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,” Mr. Wase said.
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KanyiDaily recalls that Gani Adams had warned criminal herdsmen to stay away from the South-West or face the wrath of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC).