Kogi Assembly: House Summons AGF, IG over ‘Unseal’ Order

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Nine members of assembly suspend embattled speaker, others
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja  and Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The House of Representatives has summoned the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, over his letter instructing the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to unseal the Kogi State House of Assembly, in contravention of the take over by the National Assembly.

Malami had allegedly described the takeover of the functions of the assembly as illegal on the grounds that the state was not experiencing insecurity, and that the takeover is being challenged in court.
The House with  concurrence from the Senate had taken over the Kogi assembly following crises caused by the impeachment of the Speaker, Hon.  Jimoh Lawal, by five out of the 20 sitting members.

The decision was taken following the adoption of the report of a fact finding delegation instituted by the House, which  recommended the takeover as the assembly was no longer sitting due to the crises.

The House yesterday at resumption from Easter recess constituted  a 22-man ad hoc committee to summon the AGF over his declaration that their takeover was illegal. The IG is also expected to appear to explain why he sought advice from the AGF after the National Assembly had already gave the takeover directive, in line with Section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

This followed a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Hon. Ossai Nicolas Ossai (Delta PDP) who noted that the letter by Malami is a direct attack on the National Assembly.
The Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, also noted that the AGF’s  interpretation of Section 11 (4) was wrong.

Meanwhile, the lingering crisis rocking the assembly continued yesterday as nine members of the House suspended the embattled Speaker, Hon. Momohjimoh Lawal, representing Okene II state constituency, and 10 other members loyal to the speaker for their alleged involvement in the leadership crisis rocking the legislative assembly since November last year.
The suspension order issued in the assembly at plenary followed adoption of a report of the factional ad-hoc committee inaugurated on March 10 this year.

 The ad-hoc committee was charged to investigate the sponsorship of the crisis and involvement of the National Assembly as well as its failure to ensure due process even at the instance of a court injunction.
Presenting the report, the Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Mr. John Abah of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Ibaji state constituency, said the committee found out that the House of Representatives was misguided by ‘’members who had interest in the crisis.’’

According to him, the situation in the state had not deteriorated into a breakdown of law and order for the National Assembly to exercise its powers in invoking section 11(4) leaving out the provision of 11(5) of the constitution.

Abah said the 10 members had persistently fuelled the crisis and made it extremely difficult for the assembly to resolve the leadership impasse peacefully in order for the assembly to carry out its lawful and constitutional responsibilities.

The committee, according to the chairman, recommended that all legal processes instituted in various courts be exhaustively determined to ensure due process, rule of law and justice to all parties.

The committee also recommended that further deliberation on the action of the National Assembly would be tantamount to prejudice, therefore urged the assembly to restrain itself from engaging the National Assembly on the matter further.

It also stated that the 10 members indicted by the committee be suspended from sitting.

Seconding the motion for adoption of the report, the Majority Leader, Friday Sanni (PDP) representing Igalamela-Odolu state constituency, urged the assembly to adopt the three recommendations of the committee.

The Speaker, Umar Imam, in his ruling, adopted the recommendations as prayed following overwhelming voice votes in favour of the report.