Kogi Assembly Crisis Deepens, As NASS Directs IGP To Seal Off Its PremisesLatest News, News Across Nigeria, News From The State Sunday, March 20th, 2016
Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja
The National Assembly (NASS) has fully taken over the legislative activities of the Kogi State House of Assembly, following the festering political crisis which has engulfed the Legislative House in recent time.
Consequently, NASS has directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, to seal off the premises of the State’s House of Assembly to avoid further crisis.
It would be recalled five out of 20 members of the Kogi State House of Assembly, including four All Progressives Congress (APC) members and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member, under the cover of the State Police Command, sat and unlawfully impeached the Speaker, Hon. Jimoh Momoh Lawal.
The decision by the NASS to seal off the State’s Assembly and takeover their legislative activities followed the Senate’s concurrence to resolutions made to that effect by the House of Representatives last week.
The Federal lawmakers also resolved to takeover the legislative responsibilities of the Kogi State Assembly, just as it condemned the role played by the Nigerian Police in subverting the provisions of the constitution by providing cover for only five members out of the 20 members of the House to commit illegalities.
While declaring the impeachment proceedings unconstitutional, NASS also lamented the intractable crisis and volatile security in the State.
It cited the powers conferred on it by Sections 11(4) of the 1999 Constitution to takeover the legislative functions of the Kogi state House of Assembly, pending when normalcy returns to the Assembly.
However, shortly after the report was introduced by the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), objected that the NASS should takeover the legislative responsibilities of the state lawmakers.
According to him, based on Senate standing order 41, no member of the House of Representatives or Senate shall bring a petition to either chambers on matters he or she is an interested party.
He also argued that the matter is already in court where a judicial remedy is being sought by a party in the case, reminding the Senate that based on precedence, any matter that is before a court of law, the Senate standing order prohibits it from taking any action on the same matter.
He observed based on the recommendation of the House of Representatives that the impeachment of the Kogi Speaker by five members was null and void, there is no justification for the NASS to takeover the legislative activities of the Kogi State Assembly.
On this, he called on the Senate not to concur with the House of Representatives even in the face of wrong decision, urging that the Senate should go through the details and reasons on which the lower chamber passed the resolutions to correct the wrongs.
However, James Manager (APC, Delta state), pointed out that since the NASS has agreed that the impeachment was null and void, it would be most rational to reinstate the wrongly impeached Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly.
He said since it is in the Spirit of the National Assembly to concur when one House has passed a resolution, it is proper for the Senate to concur with the lower chambers on the prayers contained in the resolutions.
Similarly, Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba South), said now that God has granted Nigeria change, the change could not be seen to be condoning legislative brigandage, which was witnessed in the past when two lawmakers would seat under a tree and impeach the Constitutionally elected Speaker.
He warned the NASS not to condone such unconstitutional actions by few members, saying if not, very soon, such ugly trend would repeat itself in the NASS.
He said the Nigerian democracy is no longer nascent, but has grown to the extent that voodoo democracy and legislative practices should not be condoned again anywhere in the country.
Therefore, when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, put the question for vote, majority of the Senators voted that the National Assembly should takeover the legislative activities of the Kogi lawmakers.
He therefore said there is need for deliberate efforts to bring back peace in the Kogi Assembly chamber, and bring the State’s lawmakers back to do their works.
He said the NASS did not like to rush into such issues that concern the state lawmakers, but that it has become necessary to act fast to protect the Nigeria’s Constitution for the future.
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