Benue State Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom has described as shocking, the rejection of a petition from the Mutual Union of Tiv in America (MUTA), by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Idris Wase.
Ortom asked the lawmakers to overrule Wase on his unilateral decision to reject the petition.
The said petition was taken to the House by the member representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency in Benue State, Hon. Mark Gbillah.
However, the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa has appealed to all stakeholders, especially Nigerians living abroad to remain calm over the controversial rejection of the petition by Wase, promising that the issue would be resolved.
But Ortom said that the action of the deputy speaker amounted to suppression of the people’s voice, pointing out that the development contravenes the very principles upon which the country’s democracy is built.
He stressed that Nigerians home and abroad have a right as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (amended) to express their feelings about affairs of their country.
Ortom said the condition of thousands of people who have been displaced from their ancestral homes as a result of herdsmen attacks and now live in camps in Benue State deserves the attention and support of other Nigerians.
He expressed appreciation to the Mutual Union of Tiv in America, as well as other concerned groups for their solidarity.
He commended Gbillah for his calm disposition despite Wase’s utterances and urged the Gwer West representative not to be discouraged from championing causes in the interest of his people.
Meanwhile, Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said that the Commission has intimated the Speaker of the House , Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila , as well as the Chairman , House Committee on Diaspora , Hon. Tolu Akande Shadipe, of the numerous petitions and concerns of Nigerians abroad on the issue.
She expressed optimism that the Leadership of the House of Representatives would resolve the issue amicably, adding that the role and contributions of the Nigerians in diaspora home and abroad is most appreciated and can never be ignored.
Wase has been heavily criticised after a video of the plenary session of the House, where he rejected the petition, went viral.
Dabiri-Erewa, in a letter to Gbajabiamila, which was copied the House Committee Chairman on Diaspora, said the commission received complaints from Nigerians in the Diaspora expressing their anger over the stand of the Deputy Speaker when the matter was presented at the House.
“The video has inflamed tension and caused a significant uproar amongst the Nigerians in Diaspora community,” she said.
“In view of this, we appeal to Mr. Speaker to intervene and use your good office to do all that can be done to mitigate the effect of this unfortunate incidence,” the letter added.