Senate okays National Assembly’s takeover of Kogi Assembly
The Senate has agreed with the House of Representatives to take over the Kogi State House of Assembly.
This decision was taken following the adoption of an earlier resolution by the House of Representatives which urged the National Assembly to rescue the Kogi House of Assembly from its present political crisis that has prevented it from performing its legislative responsibilities to the state.
The prayers of the resolution adopted by the Senate read:
“In view of the fact that the Kogi State House of Assembly cannot perform its legislative functions due to intractable crises and volatile security situation in the state, National Assembly hereby invokes the powers conferred on it by Section 11 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take over the legislative functions of the Kogi State House of Assembly pending the restoration of normalcy in the Assembly.’’
The senators said that they: ‘‘Declare that the impeachment proceedings embarked upon by five members of the Kogi State House of Assembly are null and void.
‘‘Condemn the role played by the Nigeria Police in subverting the provisions of the constitution by providing cover for only five members out of the 20 members of the Kogi State House of Assembly to commit illegalities and:
‘‘Direct the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to seal the Kogi House of Assembly complex until the matter is resolved.”
The only attempt by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) to stop the Senate from concurring with the lower chamber was quickly overruled by Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
Melaye had argued that the move to take over the functions of the Kogi State Assembly was pending in court, adding that the Senate should comply with its standing rule and reject the request for concurrence.
Senate Majority Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, who led the debate on the motion to concur with the House of Representatives, noted that the time had come for the National Assembly to exercise its constitutional powers to prevent democracy from being frustrated in Kogi State.
Saraki had in response to the demand of some senators for detailed explanation of the need to concur with the House of Representatives, stated that: “The Kogi State House of Assembly has not been able to perform a legislative functions as a result of the lingering crisis rocking the house as confirmed by all the stakeholders in the state. The House has been under lock and key since the suspension of plenary on February 15th, 2016 as none of the groups has held any meeting in the chambers. There is palpable tension, apprehension of a possible security breach which could lead to further distrust and breakdown in the law and order. The division of the Kogi State House of Assembly cuts across party lines.
“Be that as it may I think there are two issues here; one is the nullity of the impeachment proceedings against the speaker and also there is a need for us to bring peace and stability to the place.”
Saraki said the takeover of the Kogi State Assembly was necessary, pointing out that “we must take action quickly to resolve normalcy and return Kogi State House of Assembly back to the members. I think this is the responsibility we must perform as quickly as possible.”
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