From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
The crisis rocking the Kogi State House of Assembly took a different twist yesterday as House of Representatives summoned Governor Yahaya Bello and the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai over what it described as acts of illegality carried out in the state.
The summons followed adoption of a motion raised under matters of public importance entitled: “Urgent need to stop illegality and impunity in Kogi State”, sponsored by Emeka Ujam (PDP, Enugu).
Leading the debate Ujam explained that on June 3, masked men attacked the residential quarters of the Kogi Assembly in what he described as an attempt to assassinate Momoh and 14 of his loyalists.
The lawmaker also alleged that on the same day, armed military men suspected to be officers from the Army Records, Lokoja, along with security details of the governor stormed the House of Assembly and displaced police men stationed at the complex.
The motion elicited passionate contributions from lawmakers, with each of them insisting that the failure of the Kogi governor to obey the court ruling reinstating Momoh or the resolution of the House of Reps amounted to a total disregard of the laws of the land.
Ali Isa (PDP, Gombe) who accused Governor Bello of showing total contempt for the rule of law, suggested that the House commences impeachment proceedings against the governor.
House Majority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila said the House must take action as the use of soldiers in the invasion of the state Assembly and the quarters of the lawmakers amounted to usurping the role of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, who enjoys the sole authority of approving military operations.
House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, emphasised that the National Assembly was empowered by Sections 89 of the 1999 Constitution to invite anyone in Nigeria when investigating issues of national importance, noting that it had become necessary to summon the Kogi governor to ascertain, “why the law hasn’t been respected.”
The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to voice vote by the presiding officer, Yakubu Dogara subsequently transmitted to the Gbajabiamila Committee.
Reps took over the Kogi Assembly on March 9, following the impeachment Speaker Momoh Lawal Jimoh and ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase to immediately seal off the premises.
having declared the impeachment of the Speaker null and void. The Senate also adopted the resolution of the House.
The House again inaugurated a 22-man committee headed by Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, owing to the directive of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to the IGP, to disregard the directive of the National Assembly.
In adopting the report of the Gbajabiamila Committee, the House declared all resolutions, laws and actions taken by the State Assembly from the date of the National Assembly take-over, null and void. This is even as it subsequently directed Governor Bello to immediately send his budget and other Executive Bills to the National Assembly for consideration as stipulated in section 11 of the constitution.