• I’m not part of it, says Bello
Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
There was pandemonium on Tuesday at the Kogi State House of Assembly when thugs numbering about 100 invaded the assembly, beating up assembly members and destroying items worth millions of naira.
The Speaker, it was gathered narrowly escaped. Meanwhile, the state Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has condemned the attack, saying he would never be part of such barbaric act.
Journalists were not spared as the thugs attacked the cameraman of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Lokoja. A reporter with the Daily Times, Mallam Ahmed Idris, was manhandled while a reporter with Silverbird Television was chased out of the chamber.
As early as 8a.m., fully armed policemen led by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Wilfred Inalegwu, were at the premises of the assembly following a security report that some thugs were planning to invade the place.
According to the commissioner while speaking with journalists before the crisis, the security report reaching him and unusual presence of people at the assembly prompted him to bring his men to the assembly, adding that they would not allow thugs or uninvited guests to create any problem.
However, a member of the state assembly representing Igalamela/Odolu, Hon. Friday Makama, who was suspended for six months by the assembly but later won the case in the court, was the target of the thugs as effort was made to attack him before the sitting.
It was the presence of the security men that saved him before he finally joined his colleagues in the hallow chamber.
However, the plenary had hardly commenced when thugs invaded the hallow chamber, chasing out all the lawmakers, as people ran for their lives.
The Speaker, Hon. Imam Umar Ahmed, and his security aides ran helter-skelter to find a way out of the assembly.
The member representing Igalamela/Odolu, Makama, who was the target of the thugs, was not so lucky this time around. They descended him on him and stripped him naked.
His aides were also attacked by the thugs as they destroyed vehicles belonging to him.
The security agents, particularly the police, were watching as the thugs carried out their action without any resistance.
Most of the newly fixed chairs at the assembly gallery were destroyed.
In the interim, the speaker, Umar, has condemned the attack on the assembly.
Addressing journalists after the incident, he said it was unfortunate that this was happening in the state.
He stated that a committee in the assembly would investigate the crisis
Also speaking, the state Governor, Bello, has condemned the invasion of the assembly, saying he will never be party of such barbaric act.
Addressing journalists on the crisis, Bello said whatever is happening in the assembly was an in-house fighting, adding that there was never a time he wanted to impeach the speaker.
The governor who spoke through his Director General, Media and Publicity, Mr. Kingsly Fanwo, noted that the state government would investigate those behind the problem and bring them to justice.
He said his government would not welcome anything that would put the state into crisis, warning that whoever was involved will be arrested by the security agents in the state.