First-timer in House of Reps accuses deputy speaker of discrimination, walks out on him

A member of the House of Representatives, representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency, Rivers State, Cyril Hart, on Tuesday during plenary, walked out of the green chamber after accusing the Deputy Speaker of discriminating against new members during parliamentary debates, PUNCH reports.

Hart, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), made the allegation a few minutes after the lawmaker representing Damboa/Gwoza/Chibok Federal Constituency, Borno State, moved a motion condemning the recent suicide bombings which claimed lives in the North-Eastern State.

The motion elicited debates from many lawmakers including the Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Idris Wase; the Chairman, Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson and a host of others who were recognized to speak by Kalu who presided over the plenary in the absence of the Speaker, Mr Tajudeen Abbas.

Most of the lawmakers given opportunity by Kalu to contribute to the motion were ranking members of the legislative chamber.

After the debate, Kalu was about to put the motion to a vote when Hart raised a point of order.

“You do not give preference to first-timers. You don’t”, Hart voiced out his frustration to the admiration of his colleagues, many of whom, applauded his intervention.

“Virtually all those who spoke are ranking members. This is what you always do. You need to allow first-timers to make their contributions,” Hart added,

Responding, Kalu said: “There is no discrimination in the parliament. I was also a first-timer at a time.”

Kalu added that lawmakers are often recognized to speak based on their sitting arrangement, adding that they may be overlooked if someone is not in the designated row.

At this point, Hart staged a walkout from the chamber, complaining on his way out.

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