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PROBE BREACH OF SPEAKER'S PRIVILEGES AT AIRPORT, REPS TELL FG

By NBF News

The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Federal Government to investigate the security breach on the Speaker of the House, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, by the security staff of British Airways (BA) at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

Addressing the press after the House had passed the supplementary budget for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the registration of voters for next year's general elections, the House noted that, to deny the Speaker to board the BA aircraft amounted to a national security breach.

Bankole was on his way to London on Saturday night, using a British Airways ticket when a private security man insisted on searching the hand luggage of the Speaker against international protocol.

He discontinued the journey as a result of the embarrassment.    Reacting to the development, Spokesman of the House, Mr Eseme Eyiboh, said the action of the private security should be seen as a security breach that must not be treated with levity. According to him, 'that the Speaker protested the humiliation and the breach of his security, and declined travelling on BA and boarded another plane should be applauded.

'When the Speaker was returning, he came by British Airways,' he said, 'but he was not subjected to any search in the United Kingdom,' he pointed out. Eyiboh pointed to the Schedule 6 of the British Home Office, which lists persons exempted from search among Commonwealth countries, including Speakers of member countries as number 10.

'The privileged and the security of the Speaker has been breached, undermined and injured, not as a person, but as the institution of the Nigerian House of Representatives. 'We are calling on the president to investigate this incident, as a way of preserving our national sovereignty and security,' he said. The spokesman added that, 'a private security hired by  a foreign airways has no right to subject the institution of the House of Representatives to such disrespect,' he added.

On the swearing in of a new member, representing Uyo Federal Constituency, Mr Emmanuel Obot, Eyiboh said it was the triumph of the rule of law, which the House was proud to be associated with. 'It is a promised fulfilled by the leadership of the House to allow the rule of law to prevail,' he stated.

Mr Obot thanked the leadership of the House and promised the people of Uyo Federal Constituency that the little time remaining for the end of the legislative year would be used to further their interest.