JONAS EZIEKE, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Tuesday at its plenary set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the remote and proximate cause of the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly inaugurated recently on 17th June 2019.
This was sequel to the adoption of a motion by Hon. Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, representing Owan Federal Constituency of Edo State and three others on the matter on the floor of the House.
Debating the motion entitled: “Urgent Need for Intervention in the Edo State House of Assembly Crisis,” the lawmakers noted with concern the improper, clandestine and nocturnal inauguration of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly on 17th June 2019.
They further noted that 9 out 24 members-elect were purpotedly sworn-in without the knowledge of the other 15 members-elect.
The trio informed that proclamations are issued pursuant to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended), Section 105 Subsection 3 which directs the governor of a state to issue a proclamation for the first session of the House of Assembly of a State.
They however expressed worries that on 17th of June 2019 ten days after the House was dissolved, 19 out of the 24 members-elect called a press conference to urge the Edo State Governor to issue a Proclamation to facilitate the inauguration of the House of Assembly and commencement of Legislative Business in order to avoid a constitutional crisis.
The federal lawmkers further expressed concerns that the same day (17th June 2019) the Governor and his Deputy after abducting 4 members elect against their wish caused the Clerk of the House to secretly swear in 9 members-elect out of the 24 at 9:40pm well outside the normal time recognized by the rule of the House for conduct of Legislative Business
They also averred that the so- called noctunal inauguration, some of the members that were forcefully sworn in were improperly dressed with some in their casual wears such as shorts (which is in local parlance can be regarded as ‘short nicker’) jeans, T-shirts which are not allowable parliamentary dress code.
The erudite professor and the other lawmakers noted that the Edo lawmakers were attacked by hired thugs and State Security outfit code-named wabaizigan and backed by men of the Nigeria Police Force led by the Chief Security Officer to the Governor DSP Chris D. Nwokolo.
They urged the House nay National Assembly to in line with the provisions of Sect 11(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria take over the affairs of the Edo State Assembly and ensure the proper Inauguration of House with the Inspector-General of Police IGP and Director-General of State Security Service DSS DG providing the necessary security for the 24 members-elect to be sworn in as expected by law.
Other lawmakers notably Hon. Toby Okechukwu (Enugu, PDP), Hon Peter Akpatason, (Edo, APC) and Hon. Johnson Oghuma (Edo, APC) also spoke in the same manner asking the House to intervene in the crisis with a view to halting it’s escalation.
The House presided by the Speaker Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila immediately put the matter to a voice vote and it was overwhelmingly voted for.
He subsequently constituted an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the matter and named Hon.Abdulrazak Namdas, Hon. Abdulrabe Salame Hon.Bello Kumo, Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu, Hon Luke Onoifok, Hon.Thomas Eyitomi, Hon. Tunde Ojo, Hon. Anayo Edwin and Hon. Nnoli Nnaji among others as chairman and members of the Committee.
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