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The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Tuesday declined to entertain the appearance of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Martin Uhomobi, who represented his minister, Prof. Viola Onwuliri.
Onwuliri, along with several others, including the permanent secretary, had been scheduled to appear before the committee to answer questions on the alleged sale of the Nigeria House in New York.
The Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Nnena Elendu Ukeje, who announced the rejection of Onwuliri's presence by proxy, also deferred the hearing in honour of the late Hon. Raphael Oloye Nomiye, who died last Friday.
Ukeje's shifting of the hearing date till today was in line with the suspension of the plenary to mourn Nomiye's demise.
Nomiye was a member representing Ondo, Ilaje, Ese Odo in Ondo State on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).
The Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, announced the suspension of the plenary after examining and approving the votes and proceedings of last plenary on November 21.
In a related development, the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, who was also at the House on the invitation of the House Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) went back home because the committee postponed its sitting too. Oduah's appearance was over a land racketeering case in which the ownership of a piece of land was being claimed by her ministry.
Meanwhile, on Nomiye's death, Tambuwal stated: "It is with heavy heart that I announce the passage of our colleague Hon. Raphael Oloye Nomiye, whose sad event occurred on Friday."
Christian and Islamic prayers were offered for the deceased and subsequently, the Speaker announced the formal suspension of all legislative activities till today and asked the House Leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande and Deputy House Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, respectively to move and second the motion for the suspension.
The Speaker informed the House that the Senate President, David Mark had called him say that the Upper Chamber will also not be in session.
"Honourable colleagues, in keeping with the rules of the House, the House will suspend plenary and all activities in honour of the deceased. This morning, I also got a call from the Senate President who said the Senate suspended plenary in honour of the deceased. The House hereby adjourns plenary until tomorrow (today),” Tambuwal said.
Tambuwal described the late Nomiye as a committed legislator, saying the House would surely miss him.
He said: "He was a man of peace, a very humble, very gentle character. He never approached me and I am sure any member of the leadership with any form of complaint. He was a very, very committed legislator, always attending the duties and callings be it here at the plenary or at the Committee levels. We shall surely miss him. May his soul rest in peace."
Also speaking, Hon. Dan Abia representing Eket/Onna/Ibeno Federal Constituency in Akwa Ibom State, said: “ The late Hon. Nimoye was a gentle man and his death is a colossal loss not just to the House of Representatives or his immediate constituency but the entire nation. We are going to miss his very articulate contributions."
Nimoye died last Friday in his house at Gwarimpa, Abuja under controversial circumstances that is yet to be unravelled.