…Atiku condemns move to impeach Ortom
By Kemi Yesufu
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has threatened to scuttle the consideration of a supplementary budget due for presentation before the House.
Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, Deputy Minority Leader Chukwuka Onyema, warned that the Caucus will deploy its numbers to prevent the House from forming the constitutionally required quorum, to consider the supplementary budget, if the impeachment notice against the governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom by eight members of the State House of Assembly, who were hitherto suspended for six months was not withdrawn.
He said: “I make bold to say that the Federal government is asking us to reconvene the House in order to look into budget matter, virement, etc.
“The PDP caucus of the House, is saying if this (impeachment) is not stopped, even if the House is reconvened, we will not address that issue.
“If they are issuing it as a threat, we will not come back and we will make sure we do not form a quorum for any decision to be taken.
“We will not take this, we are taking it fire for fire. If they decide that they are going to remove one of our governors because they want to protect their people, we will not sit because we too want to protect our people”.
Onyema who warned that Nigeria was sliding into a dictatorship, also called on the international community to intervene in the situation in Benue State.
He said: “It is with a sad and heavy heart, we are constrained to draw the attention of all Nigerians and the global community, including the United Nations, to the increasingly autocratic, grossly anti-democratic and historically anti-people antics of the APC Federal Government as it embarks on a desperate march towards the 2019 general elections.
“Indications are emerging that this administration is walking in the same grim path of the forbidden regime of late General Sani Abacha and the outright dictatorship that overthrew the democratic Shehu Shagari administration.
“Just this morning, while all people of goodwill across the entire nation are hoping to put the APC government’s merciless hunting of the Senate President behind them, armed policemen who had been drafted to Makurdi helped to put effect to the jackboot action against the government and people of Benue State.
“Everyone knows that Benue is a much troubled state, given the unhindered atrocities of emboldened herdsmen who have rampaged through several Benue communities, killing and maiming the old, the young and even toddlers and pregnant women.
“Yet for people nursing intense physical injuries and psychological wounds, the APC Federal Government has now added a blatant rape of their hope in democracy as eight APC members of the Benue State House of Assembly have today, served Governor Samuel Ortom an impeachment notice.
“This is a government that came into office with the slogan of progressivism and change! But in reaction to Governor Ortom’s defection from the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), policemen took over the state House of Assembly complex and an impeached Speaker of the 30-member House who had been suspended for six months for “un-parliamentary behavior” presiding, is a mockery of the rule of law and democracy.
“Benue state’s 22 lawmakers, led by the newly-elected speaker, Titus Abua, were prevented from gaining accessinto the complex.
“The PDP House Caucus hereby condemns the ignoble action that is unfolding under the supervision of the APC Federal Government and the police in Benue state; the eight renegade fellows haveno legalauthority to serve. any impeachment notice on the governor of Benue state.
“The PDP House Caucus condemn the absolute disregard for the Nigerian Constitution and the people of Benue state whose land some highly connected herdsmen and their instigators desperately hope to convert into a huge ranch land. ’7 0
“We condemn the gross injustice in Benuegtate and we hereby affirm that constitutionally, at least 10 members of the House of Assembly must sit to form a quorum and thereby, in its entirety, the so-called impeachment process begun by eight renegades and their sponsors must duly be described by all Nigerians as an illegality, an exercise in futility which shall remain null and void”.
…Atiku condemns move to impeach Ortom
Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned what he described as the awkward political development in Benue State.
Reacting to the political development in a statement in Abuja on Monday, the former Vice President says he is greatly embarrassed by the unfolding political drama in Benue State.
According to him, any attempt to disregard the rule of law and constitution in the impeachment of a governor is a recipe for anarchy and officially sanctioned lawlessness.
Atiku expressed regret that for a state facing security challenges like Benue, the introduction of lawlessness in the impeachment process could only complicate an already bad situation.
He urged the police to remain politically neutral and avoid aiding lawlessness, adding that partisanship could professionally destroy the image of police.