Inauguration crisis: Reps mull taking over Edo assembly

Members of the house of representatives are considering taking over the Edo state house of assembly until the ongoing crisis around the inauguration of principal officers is resolved.

Most of the lawmakers who spoke at plenary supported the call to take over the assembly until the crisis is resolved.

This followed a motion sponsored by Julius Ihonvbere and two other lawmakers, urging the lower legislative banner to intervene in the assembly’s crisis.

Nine of the 24 members-elect of the Edo assembly had been inaugurated under controversial circumstances on June 17.

The issue has led to legislative proceedings being suspended at the assembly, with political actors in the state trading blames over the crisis.

Introducing the motion, Ihonvbere asked the lower legislative chamber to urgently step in and take over the assembly with the hope of restoring law and order.

He alleged that those not sworn in were once harassed by “thugs led by one of the governor’s aides.”

He said there can be no normal legislative business under the circumstances, and called on the house to ensure that the “proper procedure for inaugurating the legislature” is done.

Johnson Oguma from Edo said the 15 lawmakers not inaugurated are on the run “because the state has begun moves to erase democracy.”

“We have a house of assembly which has not been inaugurated. If we fold our hands, what is going on in Edo state will spread to other states,” he said.

Peter Akpatason, also from Edo, supported calls for the house to take over the assembly. He said he is “ashamed of the kind of example” that is coming from the state.

He decried a situation where members-elect “are being attacked by thugs led by the state’s security organisation under the leadership of the state’s chief security officer.”

Abdulrazak Namdas from Adamawa state, however, called on his colleagues to first set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter.

“We are democrats so we should investigate and follow up on whoever that is found wanting,” he said.

Toby Okechukwu endorsed his submission, stating that “taking over without investigating the matter would have its negative implications”.

The green chamber subsequently resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to probe the matter while also calling on the inspector-general of police to provide adequate security to the members of the assembly.

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