A motion calling for caution on the part of the Federal Government on alleged plan to remove fuel subsidy led to uproar on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday.
This followed a motion sponsored by Rep. Albert Adeogun (Osun-PDP), on “Alleged Plan to Remove Fuel Subsidy’’, which was stepped down because of serious opposition against it.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the motion urged the Federal Government to exercise restraint in removing fuel subsidy, but rather to introduce less restrictive and stringent guidelines for the setting up of refineries in Nigeria.
This, the motion stated, would go a long way to stimulate investments in the oil industry.
The motion also urged the federal government to fast track repairs of the refineries to enhance local production of petroleum products.
“This will in the long run, eliminate the need for subsidy or reduce it to the barest minimum.’’
The motion also prayed the House to mandate its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to investigate among other things, the quantum of petroleum products imported.
It also urged the committee to investigate the consumption pattern, distribution, exportation and smuggling of fuel to neighbouring countries through the borders, and make recommendations to the House within four weeks.
However, a member, Rep. Herman Hembe (Benue-APC), said the rules of the House do not allow for motions hinged on speculation and hence should not be entertained.
The Majority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, also opposed the motion, saying it was based on allegations.
“Because they are alleging, it does not mean that it will happen. We don’t bring allegation motions but motions based on facts.
“Mr President has said repeatedly that he will not be removing subsidy. In fact, yesterday the government approved payment for subsidy totalling N431 billion.”
The Minority Leader, Leo Ogor insisted that the motion be allowed to go through the legislative process of presentation, debate and adoption or rejection.
“It is so sad that here we are being judgmental over a colleague. He deserves fair hearing.
“The House has come up with a motion that has gone through the process. You are saying the motion is judgmental. I appeal that we hear this motion out.’’
The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara upheld Ogor’s position.
“Lets see where the allegation is coming from. So Honourable, go on and let’s see where the motion is going to’’, Dogara said.
The mover of the motion withdrew it amid shouts from the members.