“We believe it is the sacred institution of the legislature that is being desecrated and rubbished in all these negative developments.”
Fred Itua, Abuja
Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have described as “a desecration of the legislative sanctity”, the ongoing situation in Benue State, wherein eight, out of the 30 members of the State House of Assembly, have commenced impeachment process against the Governor Samuel Ortom.
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In a joint statement signed by their media aides, Yusuf Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan, Saraki and Dogara called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the police to order and stop them from being used to achieve political purposes.
The statement reads: “We have monitored closely the development in Benue State, in which the impeached Speaker, Terkimbir Ikyange, led seven other members to serve impeachment notice on the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, while the 22 other members, who constitute more than two-third majority, were prevented from having access to the chamber. We believe this is illegality and does not conform to parliamentary procedure on impeachment.
“We also note with surprise the role of the police in this undemocratic event in which the minority is seeking to impeach a governor against the position of the majority. We believe it is the sacred institution of the legislature that is being desecrated and rubbished in all these negative developments.
“The situation in Benue State House of Assembly has grave implication for the nation’s democracy and it represents a throw-back to the period of dictatorship in our country. It also represents how the Nigeria police are being misused to achieve political end. In a statement recently, the Presidency derisively referred to an era in the past where a minority number of legislators was used to impeach governors who were unfriendly with the Federal Government. What we are seeing in Benue now is a return to that inglorious era.
“We believe this unlawful and unconstitutional move to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom, by a minority, should be condemned by all lovers of democracy, at home and abroad. We call on President Buhari to call the police to order and prevent a breakdown of law and order. We also call on friends of Nigeria in the international community to condemn the perpetration of illegalities and actions that can subvert our democracy.”
Meanwhile, the immediate past Senate President, David Mark, has described the purported impeachment of the governor of Ortom as null and void.
READ ALSO: David Mark breaks 2-yr silence in Senate
Mark said the alleged impeachment of Ortom by eight, out of the 30 members of the House of Assembly is, at best, an exercise in futility.
“It’s unconstitutional and devoid of any known legislative practices and procedures. I advice members of the Benue state House of Assembly to be guided by the constitution and legislative rules and procedures. They should not engage in any act that could undermine the established tenet of democracy.”
“The action of some members of Benue state House of Assembly violates section 188(2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) which requires that a Notice of Impeachment has to be supported by, at least, one third of the members of the House to be valid. This is obviously not the case here.”