By Nuel Suji, Abuja- The House of Representatives was on Tuesday sharply divided along religion line on a motion which seeks to direct the National Population Commission to take step to stem population growth.
The motion moved by Babatunde Kolawole (APC, Ondo) generated heated arguments from members who said the motion was offensive to the Islamic religion.
The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, did not put the question before ruling on the motion.
Kolawole had moved that the Federal Government to curb population explosion by urgently coming up with a workable population reduction policy.
The motion also directed the National Orientation Agency NOA to educate Nigerians on the benefits of family planning.
Immediately the motion was raised, Dr. Sani Abudu came up with a point of order, calling the motion a still-birth that has no place in the legislature.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara had to intervene to allow the secondment of the motion and for debate, warning that anyone opposed to it should come up with his points during debate.
Abdullahi Salade (Sokoto) in his contribution asked that the motion be thrown out as it represents noting but sheer waste of legislative time.
He introduced Religion into the debate when he said that as a secular state, no religion should surreptitiously or otherwise impose its doctrine on the other, implying that Christians with their wide acceptance of family planning should not lord it over the Muslim fold.
Other contributors made their contributions with religious bias. Some were angered by such views, arguing that the motion’s intent is to control population for effective national planning, and not anti-Muslim.
In his ruling on the motion, Dogara described population control as development policy and referred the motion to the House Committees on Justice. Population as well as Rules and Business.