House Directs Kogi Governor to Forward Budget for Consideration

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Indicts AGF, orders state assembly  resealed
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The House of Representatives has directed the Kogi State Governor, Mr. Yahya Bello, to transmit the state’s 2016 budget and other executive bills for consideration.

This is as the green chamber reiterated its  take over of the state House of Assembly. It also directed the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Solomon Arase, to seal the premises of the assembly.

Where the National Assembly takes over a state assembly, it carries out the duties of the assembly including passing budgets, motions and laws, save for impeachment proceedings.

The House, backed by the Senate, had taken over the assembly on March 9, 2016 following the crises caused by the impeachment of the Speaker, Hon. Jimoh Lawal, by five out of 25 members.

The House cited section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended which allows it to take over in the event a state assembly can no longer sit for whatever reasons.

Arase complied with the directives to seal the state assembly premises in readiness for the takeover, but however unseal it following a counter directive by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami.

Malami in a letter to Arase, who had sought his advice, said the resolution of the House was of no effect,  as the resolutions are only persuasive.

The AGF also argued that Section 11 (4) can only be effected by law and is applicable when there is a situation of insecurity in the state.
The ad hoc committee on the crises headed by the Majority Leader, Hon.  Femi Gbajabiamila,  in its report considered yesterday, said the AGF erred in seeking to interpret the constitution.

The actions of the AGF and the IG, who sought advice on the resolution of the House, were an affront to the legislature and democracy, the report noted.
The recommendations were adopted by the House. It directed the AGF to immediately withdraw his letter to the IG and proceed to court if he has any issue with the resolutions of the National Assembly.

“That the attorney general be reprimanded for undermining the authority of the legislature…that the IG be reprimanded for undermining the authority of the legislature,” it read.

The House also declared as null and void all resolution, laws and actions taken by the state assembly from  March 9, 2015.
The faction that impeached Lawal and elected Hon. Imam as speaker has continued to sit in defiance of the House resolution.

Presiding, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yussuff Sulaimon Lasun, said the IG had been told that any resolution of the National Assembly has the potency of the law.
The lawmakers therefore directed that the state assembly be resealed immediately, pending the resolution of the crises.