A fresh round of drama played out at the Benue State House of Assembly yesterday,72 hours after Speaker Terkimbi Ikyange; Deputy Speaker James Okefe; and Majority Leader Benjamin Adanyi were impeached for alleged abuse of office.
Armed policemen barricaded all the entry points into the complex to prevent members of the assembly including Ikyange and the new speaker Hon Titus Uba from getting inside.
Both Ikyange and Uba laid claim to the speakership.
But some of the lawmakers forced their way into the assembly complex jumping its high walls.
Still the police stopped them from gaining entrance into the main lobby of the Assembly complex to hold their session.
The lawmakers soon moved to the nearby old Banquet Hall of the Government House, where they decided to suspend the impeached Speaker for six months.
The motion for Ikyange’s suspension was moved by the Majority Leader, Mr. Avine Agbom, who cited the news conference by the impeached speaker where he insisted that he remained Speaker amounted to unparliamentary conduct deserving of suspension.
He explained that 21 out of 30 legislators, at their emergency meeting on July 24, passed a vote of no confidence on Ikyange and other Principal Officers and eventually impeached them.
He said the action taken against the principal officers was legal and in compliance with the House Standing Rules.
According to him, such a behavior is against the parliamentary rules and because of that singular act and other sundry issues standing against him, he needed to be suspended.
He also accused the former Speaker of using official vehicles to block the main entrance of the Assembly Complex, thereby preventing them from entering the chambers.
Agbum regretted that in spite of the impeachment of the Speaker, the police were still supporting his actions.
He said the staff of the Assembly, who were civil servants, were also prevented from entering the complex.
The motion was seconded by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Egli Ahubi, who said that “the motion for suspension is apt and timely too”.
Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Mr Titus Uba, said that Ikyange had violated the House Rules as such the motion calling for his suspension was in order.
Uba, therefore, handed down a six months suspension on his predecessor.
The House had adjourned from July 10 to Aug. 15 by the impeached Speaker but a section of the lawmakers, numbering 21 reconvened on Tuesday to impeach him and other principal officers.
Ikyange described his impeachment as an “act of illegality” and insisted he was still Speaker.
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