Rivers Crisis: House Of Reps take over functions of Rivers Assembly

The
House of Representatives, Wednesday, passed a motion to take over the
legislative functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly following
the crisis that took place on Tuesday, July 8.

In approving the
motion, the House said it was empowered by section 11(4) of the 1999
Constitution to take such actions and consequently asked the Inspector
General of Police to redeploy the Commissioner of Police from the state
to avoid the current misunderstanding between him and the governor, Hon.
Rotimi Amaechi.



The resolution was taken following the adoption
of a motion of urgent national importance moved by the Chairman of Rules
and Business Committee, Hon. Albert Sam-Tsokwa, titled “Threat to
democracy and inability of the House of Assembly of Rivers State to sit
and transact legislative business.”

Moving the motion, the
lawmaker noted that on July 9, it was widely reported that hoodlums and
thugs aided by five out of 32 members of the State House of Assembly
invaded the Assembly and  beat up other members of the Assembly with one
of the five members seizing a gun from a policeman and threatening
other members of the  Assembly, as the  Speaker’s car was smashed.

He
recalled that the  Assembly had on previous occasions tried to hold its
normal sittings and transact parliamentary business but was unable to
do so as a result of the presence of hoodlums in the precincts of the 
Assembly and the inability of the Nigeria Police to provide the
legitimate authorities of the  Assembly with security.

Sam-Tsokwa
expressed concern that the Rivers State Police Command which had
pledged to provide security for the sitting of the Assembly watched the
violence unleashed on members of the Assembly without any form of
intervention.

He said “in a situation where the Commissioner of
Police, Rivers State is alleged to have taken sides, and five  out of a
32 members  Assembly  procured thugs and hoodlums to disrupt the sitting
of the Assembly  and prevented the  House of Assembly from performing
its constitutional functions.”

He further expressed worry that
five out of the 32 members of the House of Assembly purportedly
attempted unsuccessfully to remove the Speaker and Leadership of House
of Assembly of Rivers State.

Supporting the motion, Hon. Sani
Idris Kutigi, who seconded the motion said there was no short cut to
justice and rule of law, arguing that a situation whereby minority
claims to unseat the majority in the nation’s politics recently was
unacceptable.

Making allusion to the Nigerian Governors Forum
(NGF), where Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State with 16 votes claimed
to have won the chairmanship election   against Governor Rotimi Amaechi
of Rivers State that had 19 votes.

Also aligning with the motion,
Hon. Eziuche Ubani indicted the police for compromising the security of
the state and advised his colleagues to support the motion. He
suggested that the IGP be summoned to appear before the House to explain
the role of police in the Rivers State crisis.

In his argument,
Hon. Yakubu Dogara said as elected representatives of the people, the
lawmakers had the responsibility of taking action to save Rivers State
from descending to anarchy. He said the whole crisis was aimed at
creating avenue to declare a state of emergency in the state.

Minority
leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, in his contribution said what took
place on Tuesday was an equivalent of a civilian coup and those who
carried out the action should be tried for treasonable felony.

According to him, the constitution has provision for executive and legislative state of emergency.

Others
who spoke in favour of the motion were Hon. Aminu Suleiman, Simon
Arabor, Emmanuel Jime, Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, Ali Madaki, Razak
Bello-Osagie and Robinson Uwak. The rest were Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Nnena
Ukeje, Garba Datti Ahmed and Ali Ahmed.

The views of those who
opposed the motion – Hon. Ken Chike and Kingsley Chindo – were however
not strong enough to outweigh the proponents of the motion. When it was
eventually put to question by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, who
presided over the session, it was a resounding aye.

Source: The Will Nigeria