Rep turns bouncer, chases journalists out of COVID-19 probe - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

Rep turns bouncer, chases journalists out of COVID-19 probe

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By Our Correspondent

A mild drama occurred Friday at the National Assembly, when a member of the House of Representatives from Oyo State, Rep. Adedeji Olajide threw caution to the wind and assumed the status of a ‘bouncer’ chasing journalists out of a public hearing organized by the House.

The lawmaker who represents Ibadan South West/North West Federal Constituency displayed the conduct unbecoming of a federal lawmaker at the public hearing organised by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on COVID-19 investigating indigenous medical research in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the country.

The event was attended by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of state for Health, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Ihekweani and other heads of agencies and parastatals under the health ministry.

Trouble started while the hearing was ongoing, following the observation by a House member complaining that the meeting room was becoming over-crowded.

Consequently, the lawmaker sought the permission of the chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Rep. Haruna Mshelia (APC/Borno) to control the number of people inside or entering the hearing room.

Granting the request to decongest the hearing room, Rep. Haruna Mshelia instructed that no one should be allowed into the hall again so the social distancing protocol can be maintained.

“Please, we have the minister of health with us here and we have to adhere strictly to the PTF social distancing recommendations. So, sergeant -at -arms, please, open the doors, but don’t allow any more people to come in.

“Let’s just maintain the number we have in the hall. Honourable colleague, your observation is sustained,” Rep. Mshelia ruled as chairman of the ad-hoc committee.

But, instead of allowing the sergeant-at-arms to discharge the orders of the chairman by preventing more people from entering the hearing room, Rep. Olajide, arrogated to himself the functions of a sergeant-at-arms and began walking out journalists and guests out of the hearing venue.

He ordered the sergeant -at -arms to forcefully remove any journalists or guest who dares to question his hostile behaviour, resulting in protest by journalists covering the hearing and an eventual walk-out.

However, to placate the aggrieved journalists, a member of the ad hoc committee, Rep. Aniekan Umannah from Akwa Ibom State, intervened and pleaded with the journalists to forget about the embarrassment and continue with the coverage of the investigative hearing.

Majority of the House correspondents frowned at the behaviour of the first time House member from Oyo State, who in the last one year has neither sponsored a bill or a motion on the floor of the House.

This is not the first time Rep. Akinjide would be exhibiting such behaviour. Our correspondent reports last at the last meeting of the ad-hoc committee, he harassed people at the hearing who were not wearing face masks, even though House members at the hearing including himself wore no face masks.