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Bayelsa speaker finally swears in opposition lawmakers


Kombowei-BensonSpeaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Kombowei Benson, yesterday finally swore in three opposition members of the House after much pressure.

The three House members had taken their case to the Attorney General of the Federation last week after efforts to accept them into the House of Assembly dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed.

They were denied access to the House months after being declared winner of the 2015 State House of Assembly elections in a ruling by the ‎Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The members sworn-in yesterday are Alfred Belemote (APGA, Brass 2), ‎Gabriel Ogbara (ADC, Ogbia 2) and Gibson Munalayefa (Labour Party, Ogbia 2).

However, the Speaker, who presided over the ceremony at the House yesterday, attributed the delay in administering oath of office on the three opposition legislators to improper submission of documents by the affected members.

While exonerating the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, from any complicity in their plight as highly insinuated, he said, though the House leadership knew about the court ruling declaring the three legislators as elected members, the processes of admission of new members needed to be followed in accordance to rules and procedures of the House.

According to him: “Many calls and media write-ups were made over the delay in admitting the new members.‎ In spite of that we consider that they have not made enemies in the House. We have no issues with them and they don’t have with us. The House is a law making body and must follow procedures as enshrined in the constitution.

“Many people believed we will be put under pressure to circumvent the provisions of the law.‎”

The Speaker recalled his controversial removal from office by the ruling of the Court of Appeal due to procedural fault.

The Speaker was said to have finally bowed to pressure after the Attorney General, some influential groups like the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) and the media pile pressure on the House leadership and the state government to obey the ruling of the Appeal Court.

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