Akwa Ibom House of Assembly was again thrown into turmoil on Tuesday as a faction made up of five All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers clashed with those loyal to Onofiok Luke, the Speaker, at the assembly premises.
APC lawmakers, Tuesday morning, made their way into the House chambers where they quickly held their ‘sitting’ and passed a “resolution” suspending 11 lawmakers.
The ‘sitting’ was presided over by Nse Ntuen (Essien Udim State Constituency).
The other four lawmakers were Gabriel Toby, Etim Ekpo/Ika; Otobong Ndem, Mkpat Enin; Victor Udofia, Ikono; and Idongesit Ituen, Itu.
They were yet to leave the assembly when the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, who belongs to Peoples’ Democratic Party, arrived with police officers, officials of State Security Service (SSS), and some youth loyal to the state government and PDP to chase away the factional lawmakers.
Photos posted on Facebook showed some of the lawmakers fleeing for safety.
A car was reportedly set ablaze during the fracas.
“Let nobody, party think they can intimidate us in Akwa Ibom State,” the speaker, Mr Luke said during plenary, as he, alongside other lawmakers, took control of the assembly.
“People of Akwa Ibom have shown solidarity as seen in what happened today. We will continue to stand with our governor. We will continue to make laws for our economic development of the state and for the betterment of the youth of the state,” the speaker said.
The House of Assembly, reacting to the latest development, passed a vote of confidence on Luke.
The House called on security agencies to arrest the five lawmakers and a former sergeant-at-arms, Mr Godwin Ukpong.
They also called for the redeployment of the new commissioner of police who is barely one week old in the state.
Police spokesperson in the state, Mr Odiko MacDon, refused to comment on the incident when contacted.
Commissioner for Information in the state, Mr Charles Udoh, said it was necessary for the governor to visit the assembly because of the crisis.
“The governor is the chief security officer of Akwa Ibom State. So when there is a security threat, the governor has to physically supervise what’s going on there,” Udoh said.
“The five dissidents, sacked House members, aided by the police with thugs dressed in fake police and army uniform, had invaded the House of Assembly.
“The governor, being the chief security officer of Akwa Ibom state, has an obligation to be there.
“The governor’s presence helped to restore peace and calm at the assembly, especially when you consider that the illegality perpetrated by the five sacked members of the House of Assembly, was aided and abetted by Nigeria Police Force,” he said.
The five lawmakers, last week, defied the Constitution and announced the “removal” of Mr Luke after their seats were declared vacant for defecting from PDP to APC.
The crisis snowballed into the sealing of the assembly by the police in the state which later vacated the premises on Friday.