The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State has said it would not fold its arms and allow the continued molestation and harassment of its members by Governor Udom Emmanuel and members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement signed by its spokesman Nkereuwem Ekongekere, the APC condemned Tuesday’s ‘invasion’ of the House of Assembly by the governor and the Senator representing Uyo Senatorial District, Bassey Albert.
This is as the Senate mandated its Police Affairs Committee to investigate alleged invasion of Assembly complex by persons suspected to be political thugs.
Describing the invasion as the height of impunity and recklessness, the APC said: “Nov 27, 2018 was indeed a day Udom Emmanuel broadened outrageously the territory of his impunity as he traversed boundaries of laws to force his way into Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly without any invitation extended to him by the ‘factional’ Speaker Nse Ntuen.
“APC as a party cannot continue to fold its arms and watch the legislature controlled by its members being rudely harassed and molested by the very man that is supposed to protect them.”
The party berated the governor for misinforming the state, country and the international community through a news conference after “perpetrating all the havocs and levelling false accusations on the five APC lawmakers who went into the hallowed chamber of the assembly to carry out their peaceful legislatives duties.
It said: “This kind of attitude amounts to nothing but only a clever way.
“We therefore call on the general public to discountenance such unholy enunciations emanating from his press conference because there are mere fabrications contrived to smokescreen the truth on ground- his incompetence and failures in utilising the mandate properly in the way that would have given him hope of re-election, hence the madness all the way!”
Paying allegiance to the factional Speaker, the party said it would deploy its full strength to defend its members’ right.
In Abuja yesterday, the Senate mandated its Committee on Police Affairs to investigate the alleged invasion. Senate President Bukola Saraki gave the Senator Tijjani Kaura-led committee 48 hours to submit its report to the Upper Chamber for consideration.
Saraki said the investigation became necessary to enable the Senate appreciate the true picture of what actually transpired in the Akwa Ibom Assembly on Tuesday.
He said the Senate can take a position only after establishing what happened in Akwa Ibom State, even as he assured stakeholders that the Senate would, at all times, stand to defend democracy.
According to him, the invasion of a democratic institution like a House of Assembly should be condemned wherever it occurs.
The resolution to probe the incident followed the report of the alleged invasion presented by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan.
The Akwa Ibom Northeast senator told his colleagues that suspected thugs invaded and disrupted activities at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Tuesday.
He claimed to have personally witnessed the alleged invasion when he visited the Assembly complex in the company of Governor Emmanuel.
Akpan also claimed that the alleged invaders were led by a top police officer in the state.
He specifically accused the state Commissioner of Police, Musa Kimo, of leading and taking side with the invaders to truncate democracy in the state.
Akpan also said that the police commissioner took side with the minority APC lawmakers in the state to cause the breakdown of law and order.
Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano North) raised a point of order to inform the Senate that the issue of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly was in court.
Barau cautioned that the Senate should learn to distance itself from state matters.
The Senate, he added, should concentrate on national issues and leave state matters for the states.
Barau’s position did not go down well with some senators. They attempted to shout him down.
Tempers began to rise, forcing Saraki to intervene and insisted that the Senate should be interested wherever democracy was under threat.
Saraki said: “We were all here when this chamber was invaded. We cannot tolerate the invasion of the hallowed chamber of any legislative house.
“It is completely unacceptable. The Police Affairs committee should find out what happened and report back to the Senate within 48 hours.”
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) through its Senate also condemned the invasion, describing it as an attempt to truncate democracy in Akwa Ibom State.
Court restrains factional Speaker
A High Court sitting in Uyo yesterday granted an order of interim injunction restraining factional Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Speaker Nse Ntuen from parading himself as speaker pending the determination of motion on notice filed by Ekemini Udim Esq, a counsel to another factional Speaker Onofiok Luke.
The ruling by Justice Ekaete Obot ordered that the injunction be served on Ntuen in person and also be pasted on every conspicuous part of the Assembly complex.