Crisis rocks Cross River as DSS, police, take over house of assembly complex

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Personnel of the Department of the State Services, the Dragon Squad and the Nigeria Police Force on Wednesday took over the complex of the Cross River State Assembly.

The action followed the removal of the speaker of the assembly, Mr Elvert Anyambem for alleged gross misconduct and financial impropriety.
NewsGazette learnt that the takeover of the assembly complex was meant to douse tension following the speaker’s impeachment.

The security agents were said to have barricaded every access to the complex.

Recall that earlier today, 17 members of the house of assembly removed Ayambem over allegations of mismanagement, misconduct, financial misappropriation and indifference to welfare of members.

According to Vanguard, Ayambem’s removal was made public in an impeachment notice signed by 17 out of the 25-member legislature.
The 17 members described Ayambem as a tyrant who according to them undermined their interest and has been allegedly involved in various forms of financial misappropriation.

The motion for his impeachment was moved by Mr Effiong Ekarika, representing Calabar-South-1 and seconded by Mr Charles Omang representing Bekwarra state constituency in the Assembly.

The impeachment notice reads: “Having met the Constitutional requirements of two-third majority (17 members), we the under-listed members of the Cross River State House of Assembly hereby pass a vote- of-no- confidence on Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, speaker of the house of assembly and he is hereby removed.”

The lawmakers accused Ayambem of “misappropriation of the sum of N48, 000,000.00 meant to pay electricity bills for the house of assembly complex and the house of assembly quarters, misappropriation of 2% of all revenue collected by the Internal Revenue Service (|RS) monthly for oversight functions of the house of assembly in line with Section 18(a) (i) of the Cross River State Revenue Administration Law 2011 as amended to the tune of N404, 683,855.10.”

He was also alleged to have misappropriated N19, 437, 844.00 from local government deduction and 11 months deductions which he allegedly failed to disclose to members.

Besides, he was alleged to have appointed members to move or second motions rather than allowing interested members to raise their hands, arbitrarily approved expenditure in flagrant breach of the provisions of Section 9(1) of the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law 2021 and granted approvals beyond the limit which the Speaker can approve contrary to Section 9(10) of the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law 2021.”

The lawmakers who signed the impeachment notice were Kingsley Ntui, Okon Owuna, Samuel Abang, Cyril Omini, Stanley Nsemo and Charles Omang.
Others included Thomas Aruku, Eyo Bassey, Bassey Effiong, Francis Ogban, Victor Nsa, Ovat Agbor, Pius Ashakia, Martins Achadu, Effiong Ekarika, Egbe Abeng Egbe, and Hilary Bisong.

Meanwhile, the embattled speaker said he was still in charge.

He said in a press statement by his media aide, Mr Matthew Okache that Ekarika who moved the motion of his impeachment, disrupted the session by inviting hoodlums to the chamber.

“The Cross River State House of Assembly has been alerted to false news reports that the Speaker, Elvert Ayambem, has been impeached.

“To be clear, the speaker of the Cross River State house of assembly is, without a doubt, Elvert Ayambem. He is in the current position. What happened earlier today (Wednesday) during the plenary, when Effiong Ekarika, a member representing Calabar South 1, disrupted the session by inviting hoodlums to enter the chamber, is a ridiculous charade with no constitutional basis.

“The house of assembly is not aware of any impeachment notices being served to anyone before the frivolous act as witnessed at the chambers. The alleged impeachment and replacement are speculative, and the general public is urged to disregard fake news and dismiss any notion of a crisis. The status quo is that Elvert Ayambem is the speaker of the house of assembly.”