CSOs threaten legal action over Benue Speaker impeachment

All is not over with the controversy surrounding the impeachment of the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Terkyimbi Ikyange as Conference of Harmonised Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria has issued a two week-ultimatum for parties to revert to status quo ante after which it will approach a court of competent jurisdiction to ascertain if the process of impeachment complied with laid down rules.

Recall that 22 out of 30 members of the state House of Assembly recently impeached the Speaker of the House, Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange, his deputy, Mrs. James Okefe and the Majority Leader of the House, Benjamin Adanyi, for alleged abuse of office.

Addressing a press conference in Makurdi, the state capital, Richard Achie Nege, national coordinator of the group stated that the impeachment as was carried out is a rape of democracy as it did not conform to the tenets of democracy and the provisions of the constitution.

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“…a fortnight ago based on normal legislative rules and procedural practices all over the world, the Benue State House of Assembly had adjourned plenary to the 15th of August 2019. Of course this was done in line and according to the rules of the House. This was done to allow members of the state assembly refresh for greater productivity and to enable others to embark on spiritual exercise in Israel.

“But only a few days ago, while the House was still on recess, certain individuals were aided by some civil servants into the chamber of the state assembly. Of course, a review of their activities purported that they had wanted to change the leadership of the 8th assembly”.
The group further explained that by the provisions of the constitution and rules of the House, only the Speaker has right to reconvene a session maintaining that the assembly had been infiltrated by enemies of the state and saboteurs of democracy which we have toiled for many years to establish.

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The group also chided the executive arm of government for interfering with the workings of the legislature saying such act was an affront on democracy.

“Ordinarily, the civil society would let this slide but for the state government to allow some people to make use of the governor’s banquet hall in place of the legislative chamber to foment illegality is not only unfortunate but a huge indictment on the complicity of the state executive”.

Emphasising that the members have right to effect a change in their leadership, the group said there was a procedure to that effect.

“To this end, we reiterate that, both the decision for change of leadership and suspension of the speaker of the 8th assembly is null and void and would be resisted with every legal authority and other civil arsenal permitted in a democracy”, the group said.

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