OrderPaperToday– The National Assembly on Thursday annulled the impeachment of Kogi House of Assembly Speaker, Mr Momoh Lawal and took over the function of legislating for the State.
The Speaker was on February 16, impeached by five All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers out of the 20-member Assembly.
The resolution followed a motion from the House of Representatives, seeking Senate’s concurrence with its resolutions on illegal removal of that state’s Speaker.
Resulting from the motion, read by Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, the National Assembly also resolved to invoke the powers conferred on it by Section 11(4) of the Constitution to take over legislative functions in Kogi State pending resolution of the crisis.
The legislature further condemned the role played by the Nigerian Police Force in subverting provisions of the Constitution by providing cover for only five out of 20 members of the state assembly to commit illegality.
The lawmakers therefore directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to seal the Kogi State House of Assembly Complex until the matter was resolved.
During deliberations, James Manager (PDP, Delta South) observed that details of the crisis in Kogi State were not made available in the motion.
He further suggested that since the Speaker’s impeachment was declared null and void, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly be reinstated rather than the National Assembly taking over proceedings.
“The first observation is that, in the spirit of working together in the bicameral legislature, a concurrence is something that once it is once referred, you honour.
“Otherwise there are issues that should naturally arise from this motion that is before us.
“If it is true as reflected in the motion, if only five members sacked the Speaker, the natural thing that should flow is to reinstate the Speaker, who was illegally impeached.
“We are now saying you want to take over the state assembly by invoking the constitutional provision and I think it is not right,” he said.
Similarly, Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) said there was no need for the national assembly to take over proceedings at the state assembly.
He said: “If the whole exercise has been declared null and void then what is the reason for taking over the House of Assembly.
“In the spirit of one national assembly it is good for us to concur but as the upper chamber, it is our responsibility to correct the lower chamber”, he said.
Melaye stressed that in the interest of democracy, the impeached speaker should be reinstated immediately.
In his remarks, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who presided over plenary, said the National Assembly had the constitutional right to intervene in the Kogi State crisis.
He commended the House of Representatives for their role in the crisis but observed that a detailed report ought to have been presented to the Senate for concurrence.
“There is need for us to bring peace and stability to Kogi State but the taking over of the state assembly will be temporary.
“It is not in our interest to wade too fast into issues like this but we must ensure that the constitution is well respected at all times.
Saraki said the era where the minority would have their way and the majority their say, would no longer be condoned