Thursday, 31 March 2016

In Kogi: Police seal Assembly complex following crisis.

Kogi State House of Assembly complex was yesterday sealed off by security agents on the orders of the National Assembly following the protracted leadership crisis rocking the House. 

This came as Governor Yahaya Bello of the state, denied any crisis in the Assembly, saying the House had been carrying out its normal legislative activities without disruption or external interferences. But contrary to the governor’s claim, the main entrance to the assembly complex was barricaded, by heavily armed policemen, preventing factional members billed to conduct ministerial budget screening from accessing the complex. 

The road leading to the complex was also barricaded by armed policemen, who subjected staff of the assembly to scrutiny and only allowed them in upon confirmation of their employment status through their Identity Cards. 

Vanguard gathered from one of the security agents at the gate that they were acting on the order of the Commissioner of Police, following a directive from the Force Headquarters in Abuja. 

Speaking on the seal-off, a member from the embattled Speaker’s camp, Aliyu Akuh, said since the crisis remained unresolved and the other faction ignored the directive to return to status quo ante by the House of Representatives, there was no other option than to seal off the complex. 

However, the factional Speaker, Umar Imam, who spoke to newsmen in Lokoja said, the action of the security operatives did not amount to seal-off, insisting that the Assembly was still performing its function. According to him: “At our last sitting on Thursday March 24, we adjourned till April 12 to give room for budget defence. So we were not even sitting because we are on recess. “We are on oversight function to speak with MDAs for their budget defence. So, as far as we are concerned, the Assembly has not been sealed because it is still functional, workers are working in the complex. “By the time we finish with our recess and budget defence, we shall continue with other Assembly businesses.” 

However, the Committee on Appropriation, who were to conduct their budget screening at the Assembly complex, relocated to the Government House to carry out its function, as the Committee met with the Ministry of Information, and two other committees yesterday. 

Speaking with State House Correspondents in Abuja, Governor Bello appealed to the people of the state to join him in rebuilding the state, insisting that the time of crisis was over. He said: “My House is sitting and we have absolute peace in Kogi State. I am not aware of that the National Assembly is supposed to have taken over. The state is absolutely in peace and the legislative activities are ongoing. “I am the executive and the executive is functioning and we are doing the best we can. The legislature is doing its own business and is on it. Members should remain calm. Kogi State has bled for long. This is not the time for crisis. “This is the time to work and I am here to work. I am not here to have any political fuss with anybody, whoever is ready should join me and let’s fix Kogi State”. 

On the federal government bailout funds to states, the governor said : “We applied for it and its under processing so right now I have not gotten any bail-out yet. Well, I think to the best of my knowledge, the last administration either did not go on with the process properly, which we are doing now to correct whatever was not done properly so that we can access it for our people.”

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