The armed policemen yesterday sealed off the Kogi State House of Assembly complex on the order of the National Assembly, following the lingering leadership tussle in the state legislature.
The lawmakers, belonging to factional Speaker Imam Umar, who were scheduled to conduct ministerial budget defense at the assembly, were prevented from entering the complex.
Our correspondent observed that the road leading to the complex was barricaded by the armed policemen who subjected staff of the assembly to scrutiny. They allowed them to enter the building after getting confirmations that they were staff.
The deputy to the embattled Speaker Momoh-Jimoh Lawal, Mr Aliyu Akuh, who spoke on the situation, said the crisis remained unresolved as earlier directive to return to status quo ante by the House of Representatives was snubbed by the group of five lawmakers led by Imam.
Akuh described as aberration, a situation whereby five out of 20 assembly members would sit and impeach Lawal whose leadership had received a vote of confidence from 15 other members.
“What happened with five members seeking to impeach a Speaker in a house of 20 members is an aberration, unheard of and more so that some members’ names and signatures were forged and included as being part of them.
“We had to go to the higher authority which is the National Assembly vested with the constitutional powers to intervene in such situations. The House of Representatives ordered the seal-off and it was concurred by the Senate,” Akuh said.
The factional speaker, Alhaji Umar Imam, however, described the seal-off of the assembly as illegal.
Imam said the decision of the National Assembly to seal off the state assembly in spite of the fact that the matter was pending in court was tantamount to illegality.
Imam, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Umar Ali, said the action of the National Assembly was aimed at hampering progress of the state as all legislative businesses, especially the passage of the 2016 Appropriation Bill would be affected.
The Senate had on March 17, 2016 concurred with the resolutions of the House of Representatives on the lingering crisis in the Kogi State House of Assembly, following the purported removal of Speaker Lawal.