The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed, Wase has come under fire for suggesting that Nigerians who live overseas have no say in how their country is governed.
Wase, who presided over plenary last Wednesday, rejected a petition presented by the member representing Gwer East/West Federal Constituency of Benue State, Mark Gbillah, on behalf of Tiv people living in the US.
The diaspora group had petitioned the House over alleged take-over of their ancestral lands, forcing their people to flee for safety.
Following Wase’s blockade of the petition, the group threatened to withhold its over $23 billion remittances to the country until the Speaker reversed his stance.
Former presidential hopeful and candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Kingsley Moghalu, has added his voice to the controversy.
“I’m outraged at House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Hon Ahmed Wase saying Nigerians living abroad have no right to submit petitions to parliament,” Moghalu said in a social media post today.
“Remittances from our countrymen and women at $20 billion a year keep alive families impoverished by our politicians!
“This is why we must be careful who we elect into high office. We need electoral reform now, and diaspora Nigerians must have the ability to vote from abroad as is the case in Ghana and many other countries. If the Central Bank of Nigeria can woo their remittances, we need their votes too!
“Nigerians living and earning their living abroad is not a crime. It is their right. Their citizenship shouldn’t be denigrated because of where they live. What opportunities exist for them at home if they did not move out Nigeria?
“Every country has a diaspora, some at leisure (people who just want to live in foreign lands), others by force of circumstances (economic migration).
“You won’t get a Nobel Prize for guessing where we fit in,” Moghalu said.