|By Isaac Olamikan, Senior Correspondent, Benin
The crisis that has engulfed the Edo State House of Assembly since June 17, 2019, assumed a new dimension on Wednesday afternoon when the House of Representatives acting within its capacity directed the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki to issue a new proclamation to the House for proper constitution.
The House of Representatives also directed the Inspector General of Police, IGP and the Director-General of the Department of State Service, DSS to shut down the Assembly and provide adequate security to allay further fears of intimidation and threat as alleged by members-elect.
The decision was taken at the Committee of the Whole when the House adopted the recommendations of its Committee set up to investigate the crisis bedeviling the House.
Where these measures fail, the House of Representatives also resolved to assume the functions of the House of assembly as stipulated in section 11(4) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
However, the speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye, in his reaction faulted the decision. He stated:
“It has come to our knowledge that the Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives investigating issues surrounding the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly has recommended that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Department of State Services (DSS) should seal up the Assembly.
“Considering what we came to know in the course of this process, the recommendation of the Ad-Hoc committee does not come to us as a surprise.
“For example, the chattered plane marked 5N FCT, which brought the committee members to Benin City, was paid for by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is a major party in the disagreement.
“Also, the younger brother to the National Chairman, Seid Oshiomhole, in a recent leaked audio conversation, revealed the underhand dealings in Abuja regarding the matter. He stated that Oshiomhole and his proxies have been having meetings with the committee members and other actors in the issue in Abuja and dolling out money to ensure the issue goes in their favour.
“With all these, it was clear that the ad-hoc committee was up to no good. Their report was always going to be biased.
Moreover, we want to draw the attention of the general public and the Police to a subsisting court order restraining the Police, headed by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the National Working Committee of the APC; the DSS and their agents, from interfering in the affairs of the Assembly, as the House has been going about its activities peacefully and without rancor.
“The National Assembly must take note that they are expected to act as agents of peace and not merchants of crisis. Edo State has always been peaceful and any attempt for them to carry out this order will certainly disrupt the peace that is currently being enjoyed in the state.
“In a time like this in which the nation is being engulfed in one form of violence or the order, it is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is seen to be promoting violence and exacerbating the tension in the country.”