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, Channels.