Edo Assembly crisis: Speaker, APC lawmakers threaten bloodshed

Posted by News Express | 7 July 2014 | 4,314 times

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Members of the All progressives Congress (APC) in the Edo State House of Assembly yesterday threatened that there will be bloodshed in the legislative complex if their colleagues in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) made good their threat to hold plenary in the chambers today.

The lawmakers said they would fight without their security personnel and warned the PDP legislators not to come near the Assembly Complex on Kings Square in Benin City, the state capital.
Speaking through their Speaker Uyi Igbe, the APC lawmakers warned that since the complex was undergoing renovation, it would be an aberration for their PDP counterparts to hold the plenary in the building.
Igbe said: “We are telling them it is not possible for them to attempt to sit. We will rise against it and defend ourselves without our security. Our blood will spill on this matter because we know we are right. They have threatened to kill me (speaker) and Monday (today) will be the right time.”
But the factional Speaker (PDP), Chief Festus Ebea, told reporters that the plot by the APC lawmakers to be holding plenary at the Governor’s Office was unconstitutional.
He accused the APC faction of the Assembly of willfully supervising the vandalism of the complex by removing the roof of the main chambers in the name of renovation with the backing of Governor Adams Oshiomhole to frustrate and cripple legislative proceedings.
Ebea accused the APC group of renovating the building twice within seven months and accusing them of wasting public funds.
Igbe, who defended the purported renovation, said that the artisans working with a registered contractor were engaged because plenary would henceforth be holding at the Governor’s Office.
Another APC lawmaker Kabiru Adjoto said: “The PDP has threatened that their members will sit at the Assembly… the renovation informed our relocating to the old House of Assembly at the Government House.”
He would not explain why the decision was taken without the knowledge of Ebea who chairs the Assembly Tenders Board or why the roofing which was done seven months ago was being re-roofed in the heat of the crisis.
While vowing to lead his group for a plenary session today, Ebea alluded to the incident last Friday, when Igbe led some persons to remove the roof the Assembly complex, asserting that it was a failed plan and secret attempt to empty the building of all material effects.
The Edo State Police Command had on Friday evening arrested some people and impounded a 911 Mercedes Benz articulated vehicle (trailer) and several Toyota Hilux pick-up vehicles with the state government registration numbers after they illegally gained entrance into the Assembly and attempted to cart away vital documents from lawmakers’ offices.
The occupants of the vehicles, who claimed to be acting on the orders of Igbe, whom they alleged gave them keys to the building, said they were asked to evacuate equipment and official materials, including computers, office files, fans and chairs to a location in the Governor’s Office.
In his reaction to the development, Ebea said: “We were on vacation two to three weeks before we came back on the 9th of June, 2014, but no repairs were done during the time. Very soon, we will be going on break again. Why don’t you wait till that time? Why now? These are the issues.
“You must ask them where they got the money they are using now because we know it is not their personal money. We are puzzled over the award of the contract to fix this place. This is not the wish of Edo people, and we condemn it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr. Foluso Adebanjo, who reacted to the threat of bloodbath by the APC lawmakers and allegations that he is pro-PDP, denied that the police are partisan in the crisis.
He referred to the Friday episode when he moved his men to the Assembly complex following reports that some thugs were mobilising to destroy the building.
Adebanjo said: “We will continue to ensure there is no violence. Edo State Police Command is poised and ready to arrest any defaulter of the law. We are still working to ensure that this whole Edo State House of Assembly crisis is resolved amicably. As we do that, we shall ensure no lives are lost in our duty to the people.”

•Excerpted from a Nigerian Pilot report. Photo shows Edo House Speaker, Hon. Uyi Igbe.

Source: News Express

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