Quote from 234next.com
N6.1bn SIM registration sparks another Reps brawl
July 29, 2010 12:24AM
The controversial spending of N6.1billion on SIM card registration by the federal government yesterday stirred a near-violent sitting of the House of Representatives, where members verbally attacked each other, and nearly engaged in physical assault.
The long-drawn plan, which the lawmakers have refused to approve on grounds that registrations should be done by phone companies, sparked off a row during the final consideration of the Nigeria Communications Commission’s budget, after renewed attempts by the House leadership to secure approval for the exercise.
Many members had during past meetings, opposed the use of N6.1billion for the registration of the phone cards by the NCC, arguing that the responsibility is that of the phone companies-operators, and not the commission as the regulator.
The House communication committee chairman, Dave Salako, was accused by his colleagues of fronting for the phone companies, and leading effort to secure the approval of the House for the project.
Members overwhelmingly brought down the huge allocation last week during the commission’s budget consideration, although the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, promised it may be revisited.
The controversy widened on Tuesday after lawmakers noticed a huge N12billion “error” in the budget of the commission, pushed for by Mr. Salako.
Early Wednesday, some members, discussing unofficially with journalists, vowed to press further and ensure that the N6.1billion was dropped. “That is a clear fraud,” a member said.
The presiding deputy speaker, Usman Nafada, who said on Tuesday that he was briefed about the project, delayed the consideration of the report till Wednesday afternoon, although the item was listed first, in what was viewed as an attempt to have some members leave the chambers before the matter will be hastily approved.
Mr. Nafada looked shocked at how members challenged Ita Enang, the House business and rules committee chairman, and other supporters of the project who attempted to cajole the House into rescinding the earlier decision.
Mr. Enang was angrily shouted down by the protesting members, who broke into riotous groups similar to those formed during the recent brawl in the House over allegation of corruption against the Speaker, Mr. Bankole.
Mr. Nafada put the N6.1billion to repeated voice votes in which members overwhelmingly rejected with a deafening “nay”.
At the final vote, after more than 30 minutes disruption of proceedings, the budget was finally defeated and a helpless Mr. Nafada announced once more, that the matter is still open to considerations, even though house rule opposes such repetitions.
These people, don't they have conscience?