Locked out, Benue lawmakers suspend impeached speaker
The impeached Speaker, Benue House of Assembly, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange, has been suspended by his colleagues for six months for what they called “unparliamentary behaviour”.
The legislators took the decision on Friday in Makurdi during their sitting at the Old Banquet Hall of Government House, Makurdi.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the legislators could not hold their parliamentary session at the Assembly Complex because the police locked the main entrance to the building.
The action compelled some legislators to scale the Assembly high walls to enter the premises only to discover that the chambers were also securely locked.
Following their inability to hold their sitting at the assembly complex, they relocated to the Government House Banquet Hall to conduct their business.
The motion for Ikyange’s suspension was moved by the Majority Leader, Mr Avine Agbom, who cited the news conference granted journalists by the impeached speaker, insisting that he was still Speaker amounted to unparliamentary conduct which deserved suspension.
He explained that 21 out of 30 legislators legislators, at their emergency meeting on July 24, passed a vote of no confidence on Ikyange and other Principal Officers and eventually impeached them.
He said the action taken against the principal officers was legal and in compliance with the House Standing Rules.
According to him, such a behavior is against the parliamentary rules and because of that singular act and other sundry issues standing against him, he needs to be suspended.
He also accused the former Speaker of using official vehicles to block the main entrance of the Assembly Complex, thereby preventing them from entering the chambers.
Agbum regretted that in spite of the impeachment of the Speaker, the police were still supporting his actions.
He said the staff of the Assembly, who were civil servants, were also prevented from entering the complex.
The motion was seconded by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Egli Ahubi, who said that “the motion for suspension is apt and timely too”.
Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Mr Titus Uba, said that Ikyange had violated the House Rules as such the motion calling for his suspension was in order.
Uba, therefore, handed down a six months suspension on his predecessor.
NAN reports that the House had adjourned from July 10 to Aug. 15 by the impeached Speaker but a section of the lawmakers, numbering 21 had on July 24, reconvened to impeach him and other principal officers.
Ikyange has described his impeachment as an “act of illegality” and insisted he was still Speaker.