Allegations frivolous, says Madumere Police, DSS deployed to Benue Assembly over plot to impeach Speaker
Amby Uneze in Owerri
The Imo State House of Assembly yesterday commenced impeachment proceedings against the state Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, over allegations of gross misconduct and dereliction of duties.
But in a swift reaction, the Chief Press Secretary to the deputy governor, Uche Onwuchekwa ,has described the allegations as frivolous, and â€œan old ploy of calling a dog a bad name to hang itâ€.
This is coming as over 100 security personnel were yesterday deployed to the road leading to the Benue State House of Assembly complex in Makurdi, the state capital.
In a petition submitted by the Deputy Speaker, Nnanna Ozuruigbo and signed by 13 out of the 27 members of the House, the Imo State deputy governor was accused of absconding from his office for more than three months, without permission and should be impeached.
Other allegations were the deputy governorâ€™s refusal to carry out official duties assigned to him by the governor; refusal to attend State Executive Council meetings, refusal to hold meetings with the governor and commissioners and imprisonment for theft in the United States.
Madumere has been having a running battle with Governor Rochas Okorocha over his governorship ambition, which saw him aligning with other politicians against the governor.
Calling for presentation of the petition, the Speaker of the House, Acho Ihim, said the petition had met and surpassed the required one-third as provided in Section 188 (2) 11 of the 1999 Constitution.
The House has 27 members but four were earlier suspended for what the House described as â€œunparliamentary conduct.â€
The House, thereafter set up a six-man committee headed by Hon. Kennedy Ibe, member representing Obowo Local Government Area (LGA), to probe the allegations and report back to the lawmakers within seven days.
However, the chief press secretary to the state deputy governor has described Madumere as an astute administrator who does not joke with his duties, especially his constitutional responsibilities.
â€œAs such, he has never absconded from office the period so claimed. He is constitutionally saddled with the responsibilities of superintending Boundary Commission. By our records, the deputy governor of Imo State has never abdicated from such responsibility,â€ he said.
â€œThe deputy governor participated in one day retreat for Stakeholders in the management of Nigeria boundaries, which held in the Airforce Conference Centre, Abuja on May 7, 2018 in the company of the surveyor general of the state and the principal secretary to the deputy governor.
â€œRefusal to attend constitutional proceedings of the state executive council is also one of the allegations that cannot stand any administrative procedure. There are laid down procedures through which a geputy governor or any member of the executive Council can be invited for executive council meeting. We hereby state that the deputy governor has never been invited for such meetings either through a memo or any official notices and thereby cannot stand against the deputy governor with the period in review,â€ he explained.
Meanwhile, over 100 security personnel have been deployed to the road leading to the Benue State House of Assembly complex in Makurdi.
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who personally took charge of security arrangement at the Assembly complex, told journalists the move was just a pre-emptive measure to forestall break down of law and order.
It was gathered that the development followed the purported attempt to impeach the Speaker of the House, Hon. Terkimbir Ikyange, over the emergence of new political alignment in the state.
There were also unconfirmed reports of rift between Governor Samuel Ortom and the leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, Senator George Akume, over the 2019 governorship election in the state.
Some mobile policemen and Department of State Service (DSS) operatives were seen at strategic locations around the assembly complex.