BY OBUTE JAMES
No fewer than 200 policemen on Thursday barricaded the entrance to the Anambra State House of Assembly Complex preventing the lawmakers from carrying out legislative activities in the place.
The lawmakers, made up of those who purportedly impeached the Speaker of the House, Rita Maduagwu, on November 13.
This is coming as the Nigerian Senate earlier today, November 22 directed the police to vacate the premises of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly as well as cease denying legislators access to their chambers.
The issue of closure of the State House of Assembly came up for discussion on the floor of the Senate when Senator Bassey Akpan said that the state lawmakers were still unable to access their chambers in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
He said, “Security agents are still there. No legislator has been allowed in or out. We owe the people of Akwa Ibom this responsibility. It is not right. An injury to Akwa Ibom State is an injury to Nigeria.”
At the end of the debate in the red chamber presided by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, the senate resolve to direct that “the police vacate the premises and not prevent the legislators to have access to the chambers.”
However, the police in the south eastern part of the prevented the lawmakers from gaining access to the Anambra State House of Assembly chamber.
fforts by the factional Speaker, Ikem Uzoezie, and his group to persuade the policemen for about two hours to let them in to the complex failed.
Speaking to the press, Uzoezie decried the continued sealing of the state House of Assembly complex by the Police, describing it as unconstitutional and affront to democracy.
About 20 out of the 30 members of the House had, on 13th November, impeached Maduagwu for alleged financial impropriety, highhandedness, incompetence and gross misconduct.
Maduagwu, who later gained access to the chamber, presided over a session with 11 members of the House and described her impeachment as “a bundle of illegality.”
When contacted on the telephone, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Haruna Mohammed, confirmed that the lawmakers were denied entrance into the legislative complex.
He said the Police action was sequel to an application from the leadership of the House to protect the complex.
He said, “We had earlier issued a press statement notifying the public of sealing off of the Assembly. We stand on that press statement.”