Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Members of the National Assembly from Benue State, led by Sen. Barnabas Gemade, have expressed shock and disbelief over the manner in which security forces stormed the state’s House of Assembly to pave way for the Ikyange-led faction to gain access into the hallowed chamber of the Assembly.
The federal lawmakers frowned at the turn of events in the state and called for cautuion.
Addressing a press conference in Makurdi, on Monday, over developments in the state, Sen. Gemade said, “We have learnt with great shock and disbelief 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 loyal to one political party to meet 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 illegality.
“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.
Sen. Gemade who noted that defection from one party to another had never been a crime, however, wondered why anyone would want to vilify them on account of their decampment to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He continued, “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 are 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,” Gemade stated.