Saraki, Dogara says Benue impeachment move, desecration of legislative sanctity
President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, made the assertion in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
The statement was jointly signed by Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, Special Adviser to Saraki on Media and Publicity and Mr Turaki Hassan, Special Adviser to Dogara on Media and Public Affairs.
Saraki and Dogara deplored alleged complicity of police officers in the development, saying that 22 other members who constituted more than two-third majority of the 30-member assembly, were kept away from the complex.
They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the police to order, while stopping them being used to achieve political purposes.
“We have monitored closely the development in Benue in which the impeached Speaker, Terkimbir Ikyange, led seven other members to serve impeachment notice on the state governor, Samuel Ortom.
“This is happening while the 22 other members who constitute more than two-third majority have been prevented from having access to the chamber.
“We believe this is illegality and does not conform to parliamentary procedure on impeachment.
“We also note with surprise the role of the police in this undemocratic event in which the minority is seeking to impeach a governor against the position of the majority.
“We believe it is the sacred institution of the legislature that is being desecrated and rubbished in all these negative developments.
“The situation in Benue House of Assembly has grave implication for the nation’s democracy and it represents a throw-back to the period of dictatorship in our country.
“It also represents how the Nigeria Police are being misused to achieve political end,’’ they said.
The national assembly presiding officers recalled that in a statement recently, the Presidency derisively referred to an era in the past where a minority number of legislators was used to impeach governors unfriendly with the Federal Government.
“What we are seeing in Benue now is a return to that inglorious era.
“We believe this unlawful and unconstitutional move to impeach Gov. Samuel Ortom by a minority should be condemned by all lovers of democracy, at home and abroad.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the police to order and prevent a break-down of law and order.”
They also called on the international community to lend its voice in condemning the perpetration of illegalities and actions that could subvert the country’s democracy.
They noted that there was already a tensed atmosphere in Benue following recent killings, and cautioned that nobody should encourage any action or move that may exacerbate the security situation in the state.
The presiding officers pledged the support of leaders of federal lawmakers to prevent any attempt to destroy any state legislature or use it to derail democracy.