APC lawmakers move to impeach Ortom

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Eight All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in the Benue State House of Assembly led by the impeached speaker, Mr. Terkibir Ikyange, have served impeachment notice on the governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom.

The eight lawmakers who are believed to be loyal to the former governor of the state, Senator George Akume, were said to have taken over the house of assembly on Monday while the police, who barred the G-22 lawmakers loyal to Ortom from accessing the premises, provided security outside.

Addressing journalists in his official residence at commissioner’s quarters along Oturkpo Road, Ikyange alleged fraudulent activities, non-payment of workers’ salaries and non-performance as some of the reasons for planning impeachment of the governor.

He said 12 members sat to review the political development in the state and subsequently took a decisive decision adding that 15 lawmakers had been suspended for six months.

“Two decisions were taken: one, the members looked at action of some members who invaded the House of Assembly, causing unrest in the state.

“The conduct is not acceptable; we have sent the 15 members on six-month suspension.

“Another item was the motion brought by the majority leader of the House to give a notice of impeachment, stating the offences the governor has committed in the past three years.

“We looked at it and saw that it had merit. The House found N50 million fraud in each of the 23 local governments, running into N33 billion in the past three years.

“Also, the non-payment of salaries of seven months to state workers, 11 months’ salaries being owed local government workers and pensioners up to 15 months, as well as non performance which has affected the economy of the state,” he said.

Ikyange also said his group had got an order from court directing banks to release to it (group of lawmakers) details of accounts allegedly opened for some workers but which were allegedly used to siphon money.

When asked whether the members formed a quorum, the faction speaker said 12 members sat during the session, which a source said lasted for about one hour.

The 12 lawmakers 12 were said to have moved into the Assembly complex around 6am under police protection.

Meanwhile, the group loyal to the governor which held its own plenary session at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Makurdi, also suspended the other members who held a session with the impeached Speaker.

The group, led by the new speaker, Mr. Titus Uba, said contrary to Ikyange’s claim only seven lawmakers were present at the Ikyange meeting.

Addressing journalists in Makurdi, the majority leader of the G-22, Mr. Paul Biam, described the sitting by Ikyange-led group as “illegal.”

He also said the G-22 had had also obtained a court injunction restraining the Ikyange from parading himself as speaker.

“In spite of the injunction restraining the former speaker from parading himself as speaker…this morning, as we approached the Assembly, we found security men armed to teeth with armoured vehicle who refused us entry.

“We learnt that seven members, including the suspended Speaker and without the mace, sat without forming a quorum.

“We have, however, suspended the seven members,” Biam said.

When asked why the members at Monday sitting were 18 instead of 22 as claimed, the ‘G-22 majority leader’ said that four members had gone to Abuja to honor the invitation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 

 

 

The crisis rocking the Assembly followed Ortom’s defection from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 

 

 

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