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Senate to investigate Akwa Ibom Assembly crisis

The Senate on Wednesday resolved to investigate the crisis at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

The resolution followed a point of order raised by Albert Bassey (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-East).

Angry youth, who are supporters of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, stormed the assembly complex, Uyo, Monday morning, protesting the sack of a lawmaker, Idongesit Ituen.

Mr Ituen, who represented the Itu State Constituency, was sacked by a federal high court for defecting from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.

The House had its sitting as scheduled on Monday, despite the protest.

The Speaker, Onofiok Luke, then declared vacant the seats of four more lawmakers who had also defected from PDP to APC.

The sacked lawmakers, five of them, later held their own sitting where they ‘removed’ the speaker, Mr Luke, and ‘elected’ one of them, Nse Ntuen (Essien Udim State Constituency) as the “new speaker.”

Stating his point of order, Mr Bassey recalled how he had raised an alarm on the impending threat to elections in Akwa-Ibom State.

He explained that three days ago, Mr Luke, acting on the order of a court, declared the seat of five members of the House of Assembly vacant.

According to him, the five members of the assembly went to court to stop the speaker from declaring their seats vacant upon their defection to a political party.

“It is on the basis of the judgment of the court that the speaker declared the seats vacant.”

“The next thing I was told and I have seen in the media is that three out of these five members of the House of Assembly presided over by one of the members said they had impeached the speaker.

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“Just this morning, the Akwa-Ibom House of Assembly has been sealed off by over a 1500 policemen. On some good authority, that this is orchestrated to cause violence and mayhem in the state as we drive towards the general elections,” he explained as he called on the Senate Committees on Police and Legislative Compliance to investigate the crisis.

In his remark, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, urged his colleagues to rise above partisanship.

“What is wrong is wrong. If it is true that security agents have invaded a House of Assembly and prevented them, that is wrong from wherever it is being done. What we cannot conclude is that it is an allegation that has come from our member, let the matter be looked into and the committees should confirm and report back to us.

“And once it is confirmed or not, then we can take action. We saw the unfortunate incident that happened here in the National Assembly and we cannot say because it doesn’t concern us, we won’t look into it,” he said.

Armed police officers on Wednesday morning sealed off the state’s House of Assembly complex.

Premiumtimes report

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