By Peter Duru, Makurdi
National Assembly members from Benue state have condemned the actions of the Police and the DSS who they accused of aiding eight members of the Benue State House of Assembly led by the impeached Speaker, Terkimbi Ikyange, take over the floor of the Assembly to make sensitive pronouncement of impeaching Governor Samuel Ortom despite a Makurdi High court order restraining him.
Speaking through Senator Barnabas Gemade, the Federal Lawmakers also frowned at the action of the state lawmakers whom said claimed to have raised a motion of impeachment on the Governor despite their failure to form a quorum.
According to the Federal Lawmakers “Seeing us here during our recess is as a result of the event that took place here this morning.
“We are on vacation, we heard this and so we rushed here to see for ourselves what has happened
“And we have learnt with great shock and disbelief with what had taken place here today, where in a commando style, the Nigerian security forces made up of Police and DSS would storm the state and cause the minority group of the legislators to meet, loyal to one political party and allow them to make pronouncement on issues which are supposed to be deliberated by every member of the 8th Assembly.
“This is an illegal action and we are extremely surprised that under democracy, a minority group can be given this kind of unimpeded access with security to cause illegally.
“And we members of the National Assembly frown against this extremely and we came here to pay our solidarity to the governor and the people of Benue state.
“Defection from a political party is not a crime and therefore those of us who have left one political party to the other have not done anything wrong therefore nobody should be vilified for the step we have taken because democracy is about freedom of choice.
“People have made their choices, they should be left with their choices. When we stood election we chose the party we stood election in and when we operate we also operate for the people who elected us.
“The prime duty of a legislator is to represent his people and therefore he should never be stopped from representing his people.
“So 22 members that formed the majority, because they belong to a particular political party were stopped from exercising their fundamental rights in attending Assembly and doing what they should do.
“It’s absolutely wrong and we condemn it with all seriousness. And we will ensure that when we go back to Abuja, we will inform the National Assembly, leadership and members and where possible they will take action as is expected of them following the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.” they stated.
The eight lawmakers had earlier in the day sat in the House with Police protection, suspended 15 members of the House and and raised a motion of impeachment of the Governor with the impeached speaker promising to serve the Governor the notice within seven days.
Meanwhile a Makurdi High Court, presided over by Justice Adam Onum had on the July 27, 2018 issued an ex parte interim order restraining the impeached speaker from parading himself as the speaker of the House pending the hearing of the substantive suit brought before the court by 22 members of the House of Assembly the day he was impeached