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Senate overrules Plateau Assembly, says 8 lawmakers can’t impeach Speaker

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The Senate on Tuesday in Abuja condemned the impeachment of the Speaker of Plateau House of Assembly, Hon. Ayuba Abok by eight lawmakers and the attendant disruption of legislative business while also declaring that the act be set aside in the interest of democracy.

This was sequel to a motion on matter of urgent public importance sponsored by Senator Istifanus Gyang (Plateau North).

Senator Gyang called the attention of the Senate to the alleged impeachment of the Speaker by eight out of 24 members of the House and the need for early intervention by the upper legislative chamber to avoid deterioration.

He noted with concern the disruption of normal legislative business and barricading of the Plateau State House of Assembly, thereby making access to the premises impossible.

“It was disturbed that the alleged impeachment of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ayuba Abok by eight (8) members of the House fell short of the 2/3 constitutionally required number as provided for in Section 92 (c) CFRN 1999 (As amended),” he explained.

Senator Gyang noted that majority of the members of the House are opposed to the alleged impeachment and have pledged loyalty and solidarity with Rt. Hon. Abok against those loyal to Yakubu Sanda.

“It was also revealed that Conference of Speakers of the 36 States have denounced the alleged impeachment and withheld recognition for the Yakubu Sanda.

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“The impasse and stalemate that have arisen, if left unattended to, may degenerate.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) in section 11(4) empowers the National Assembly to intervene where a state Assembly is unable to transact legislative business,” he further stressed.

The lawmaker equally pointed out that “the development at the Plateau State House of Assembly has the capacity to negatively affect the democratic credentials, image and standing of Nigeria at the global stage.”

Contributing, Senator Gabriel Suswan (PDP Benue North East), said the action of the eight members was a “threat to democracy” which the Senate should not overlook.

He further expressed concern over Governor Simon Lalong’s behavior who being a former Speaker could condone such illegality.

On his part, Senator Emmanuel Oker-Jev (PDP Benue North West) also condemned the impeachment by few Members of the House.

Accordingly, the Senate called on the Plateau State House of Assembly to set aside the purported impeachment of Hon. Abok as the Speaker.

It urged the House to be guided by the rule of law and the constitution in all legislative business, particularly where and when it affects appointment and impeachment of a presiding officer in order to deepen democracy and uphold the independence of the legislature as an arm of government.

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