Friday, 07 August 2020 04:17

Edo crisis: Lawmakers loyal to Oshiomhole impeach speaker

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Seventeen members of Edo State House of Assembly loyal to the immediate past National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday impeached the Speaker,  Mr Frank Okiye, and elected Mr Victor Edoror, as his successor.

As early as 7am, there was tension at the  Assembly complex in Benin City following the heavy presence of security agents.

The crisis came to a head in the afternoon when the roofs of the Assembly were removed by youths, who used heaps of  granites  to block the gate.

In the morning, hordes of security agents were at the Assembly  following an alleged plot to deploy special forces from the headquarters of Nigeria Police Force in Abuja to take over the legislature.

It was learnt that a team of Special Anti-Robbery Squad allegedly deployed from Abuja had in the early hours of Thursday attempted to dislodge the regular policemen guarding the Assembly Complex.

Some policemen with ‘DRAGON’ tags were seen within the Assembly complex.

This came less than 24 hours after the Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Yekini Idiaye, was impeached by seven lawmakers loyal to Obaseki.

The 24-member Assembly, all APC members, had been operating with only 10 members that were inaugurated into the 8th Assembly after the proclamation by the governor in June 2019.

The other 14 members are still designated as members-elect because they have yet to be inaugurated.

The impeached Deputy Speaker had on Sunday, alongside two others who were among the initial 10, openly declared support for APC governorship candidate, Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Speaker of the House, Mr Frank Okiye, had after the impeachment of the Deputy Speaker on Wednesday, raised the alarm that the Governor of Imo State, Mr Hope Uzodinma, and stakeholders of APC in Edo State, had concluded plans to import a fake mace to take over the Assembly.

Following the tension at the Assembly on Thursday, hundreds of pro-Obaseki supporters, who are members of the Peoples Democratic Party, stormed the House.

The governor, who was said to have cut short an ongoing campaign of PDP in Edo North to Benin City, told his supporters at the Assembly that there was no cause for alarm.

He was accompanied to the Assembly complex by the state Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu.

Okiye who was later impeached by pro-Oshiomhole lawmakers, pledged to defend the Assembly.

Assembly roofs removed, gates barricaded with granites

Shortly after the governor and the Speaker left, artisans ostensibly acting on government orders, resumed work in the ongoing renovation.

Trucks deposited heaps of granites at the general and exclusive gates of the complex.

Also, some youths with different tools were led into the House, as four of them climbed ladders to the top of the complex.

The men could be seen struggling to break the mace statue, which they eventually snapped into two.

Another group of youths later proceeded to remove the roof.

Although the Speaker had earlier hinted that the complex was being renovated, the barricade and removal of the roof, it was learnt, were to stop APC lawmakers who had pledged loyalty to Ize-Iyamu, from taking over the complex.

The security presence at the complex was still rife as of 5 pm while the removal of the roof continued.

 

Punch