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Debate On U.s. Action Against Country Splits Reps by Beaf: 12:39pm On Jan 15, 2010
[size=14pt]Nigeria: Debate On U.S. Action Against Country Splits Reps[/size]
Otei Oham
14 January 2010

Abuja — Debate on United States of America's listing of Nigeria on its terrorism watch list on Thursday created tension in the House of Representatives.

Many members argued for and against the U.S. action.

Those who supported U.S. said unabated kidnappings, abductions, bombing of oil facilities and sectarian violence linked to 'Boko Haram' and 'Kalakato' religious groups in parts of the country could not have gone unnoticed.

Critics of U.S. said the disturbances in Nigeria do not qualify the country as a terror state or that capable of habouring terrorism.

They said it was unfair by the U.S. government to include Nigeria on terrorist watch list following an attempt by a single Nigerian, Farouk Abdulmutallab, to bomb a plane in Detroit last December 25.

The debate followed a motion by Halims Agoda (PDP, Delta) calling on Federal Government to adopt a blueprint aimed at watching closely Nigerians in the Diaspora who have imbibed foreign ideologies capable of endangering world peace.

But in a controversial ruling by the House Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, the House mandated four of its committees, namely those on foreign affairs, national intelligence and security, aviation and Diaspora to investigate the matter and report back in two weeks.

According to Eziuche Ubani (PDP, Abia), there was nothing to investigate; Abdulmutallab's case was already in court.

But in the opinion of Cyril Maduabum (PDP, Anambra), lawmakers have powers to investigate the entire scenario around the alleged attempt to bomb the passenger airliner and responses of Nigeria, Nigerians and the U.S.

In carrying out the assignment, Bankole said the joint committee should summon the Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Maduekwe, to explain steps that government has taken since the incident.

These were among the eight resolutions adopted in controversial manner by members on Thursday.

Where members responded 'nay' to signify their objection to each of the resolutions, Bankole decided 'ayes' to indicate acceptance.


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