Moshood Oshun, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, has urged the House leadership to ensure adequate social distancing in sitting arrangement when it resumes legislative activities on Monday.
Oshun said in a statement on Sunday that there was need for adequate distance in the chamber in order to ensure total compliance with the COVID-19 safety rules and regulations.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the lawmaker had on June 30 walked out of the chamber during plenary after refusing to take his allocated seat in the chamber.
After the incident, the House lost one of his members, Tunde Braimoh, representing Kosofe Constituency II, who was reported have died of COVID-19 on July 10.
The House on July 11 suspended all legislative activities in order to fumigate the assembly before the July 20 resumption date.
Oshun explained that ensuring adequate social distancing in seating arrangement had become necessary due to increasing cases of COVID-19 both in the state and across the country.
The lawmaker, representing Lagos Mainland Constituency I, added that the House could not afford to do anything that would put the life of any lawmaker or member of staff at risk.
Oshun noted that there was the need to ensure social and physical distancing both at the offices and in the chamber as well as strict enforcement of mask wearing directive to ensure everyone’s safety.
The lawmaker said he had once approached the speaker and expressed his concern even before the death Braimoh, but nothing was done on it.
He said: “I had approached the Speaker (Mudashiru Obasa) to complain about the sitting arrangement, especially as it concerns me.
“My concern was that there is the need for more spacing in the sitting arrangement in the chamber.
“My point was that some of us are not exactly young and you know how this pandemic deals with people of the older age bracket and I suggested that since there is space in the chamber, there was no need crowding ourselves around.
“After I had told him in his office, I thought we had understanding about the issue, but when I came into the chamber and sat on another seat, the Speaker frowned at it and ordered that I return to my regular seat and when he could not see things from my point of view, I decided to leave the chamber so that peace can reign.
“However, I was accused of walking out on the Speaker by a section of the media, who said my complaint was that I was not comfortable on my allocated seat.
“That couldn’t have been the case because all the chairs are the same.
“I have been using it over the years.
“They are comfortable.
“That was not what happened.”
Oshun said his concern was about his safety in the face of the dreaded COVID-19 and the safety of every other lawmaker and that was what he was still talking about that they needed to put more emphasis on their safety.
NAN recalls that Oshun was among the four lawmakers suspended by the speaker in March 2020.
The four comprised two Principal Officers: Chief Whip, Lateef Abiru and Deputy Majority Leader Olumuyiwa Jimoh, as well as two other members: Moshood Oshun and Kazeem Adewale Raheem.