The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the directive by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to provide security for certain individuals “parading” as members-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly is unconstitutional.
Malami had, in a letter dated August 5, 2020, directed the IGP to provide security for the 14 newly sworn-in members of the Edo State House of Assembly.
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He explained that his directive was to enable lawmakers to hold plenary within the House of Assembly complex.
But addressing a press conference on Saturday in Abuja, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said nothing in sections 90, 91, 101 and 104 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) cited by the Attorney General, empowers him to “assemble some clowns” and declare them members-elect of any House of Assembly, without an electoral mandate.
The PDP said Malami should be made aware that the said individuals have been allegedly absent for 180 days during which they abandoned their mandate and for which their seats were declared vacant in line with the rules of the legislature and the Laws of the Federation.
According to the party, it is trite in law that with their seats declared vacant by the House, they have consequently lost their membership and respective mandates.
The party described Malami’s decision as reckless, saying it was unfortunate for the AGF to ask the IGP to provide security for ‘impostors’.
“Our party, therefore, charges the Inspector General of Police to disregard this misguided partisan directive by the Attorney General as well as ensure that the Police is not entangled in such a partisan agenda against the people of Edo State.
“The Attorney General ought to have availed himself of the facts that the Edo State House of Assembly, as constitutionally constituted, had written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), asking it to conduct fresh elections into the vacant seats in line with the provisions of our constitution and the Electoral Act.
“If the AGF had bothered to get his facts correct before issuing the unconstitutional warrant for the Gestapo operation to the IGP, he would have known that the matter of the declaration of the seats of the errant individuals and the request for the conduct of fresh elections to fill the vacant seats are pending before competent Court in Edo State at the instance of his ‘clients’ and therefore it is sub-justice for him to speak on it or cause an action to be taken.
“Yet, Malami is painfully our nation’s federal law officer,” the party added.
Crisis in the ‘House’
The crisis rocking Edo State House of Assembly took a new dimension, on Thursday, with the inauguration of the 14 embattled lawmakers and emergence of a new speaker.
This is just as the roof of the legislative complex was removed allegedly as part of renovation on Thursday.
The latest crisis in the parliament was ignited by the removal of the deputy speaker of the assembly, Yekini Idiaye, on Wednesday, barely 48 hours after he threw his weight behind the candidature of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the September 18 governorship election in the state.
Our correspondent reports that the 14 members-elect were sworn in at an undisclosed location in Benin 13 months after 10 of their colleagues were inaugurated.
The newly sworn in lawmakers along with three others impeached the speaker of the assembly, Mr. Frank Okiye, and announced Victor Edoror as his replacement.
Daily Trust reports that the 24-member assembly has been enmeshed in crisis since its inauguration in June last year.
At the inception of the parliament, 10 lawmakers loyal to Governor Godwin Obaseki were inaugurated while 14 were not until Thursday.
As it now stands, 17 of the lawmakers are loyal to the former national chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, while seven are with Obaseki who is the PDP governorship candidate.