Why Onyeama did not appear before Reps – Ministry
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reacted to allegations that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, ignored the summons by the House of Representatives.
The ministry said it was not true that the Minister of Foreign Affairs refused to appear before the House plenary and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to brief them on his efforts to address the plight of Nigerians in the Republic of South Africa.
In a statement on Wednesday by its spokesperson, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, the ministry stated that the minister could not have ignored invitations by the lawmakers to brief them on the spate of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa.
After a long debate on the issue at Tuesday’s plenary, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila noted that he was informed that the ministry failed to honour several invitations by the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yusuf.
He alleged that Onyeama also refused to respond when the leadership of the House stepped into the matter and warned ministers against shunning invitations by the parliament.
Gbajabiamila threatened that the House would invoke relevant sections of the Constitution against erring government officials, adding that he would report the minister to the President.
But in its response, the ministry stated that there was “no iota of truth whatsoever” in the claims by the Speaker.
It said, “The truth of the matter is that by a letter dated September 9, 2019, by the Chief of Staff to the Honourable Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was invited to a meeting with the Leadership of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 11.00 am in the Honourable Speaker’s Office”.
Nwonye added that the Office of the minister, however, wrote to the Chief of Staff to the Speaker, informing him that Onyeama would be attending the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at that time and that he looked forward to a meeting at a time to be mutually agreed on.
“By letter dated September 10, 2019, the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote to the Chief of Staff to the Honourable Speaker, informing him that the Minister would be in the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at that time, and that he looked forward to a meeting at a time to be mutually agreed on.”
According to the statement, Onyeama and the ministry respected the institution of the National Assembly.