12 November 2018

Nigeria: 18 Ondo Lawmakers Flee to Ibadan, Petition IGP, Buhari Over Threat to Lives

The 18 members of the Ondo State House of Assembly, who effected a change in their leadership, weekend, have alleged threats to their lives and relocated to Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

Seven of them were beaten up and injured, last Friday, when members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, led by the state Chairman Jacob Adebo, invaded the assembly after the impeachment of the Speaker and his Deputy, Hon Bamidele Oloyelogun and Ogundeji lroju, respectively. The lawmakers relocated to lbadan following fear of further attacks by the NURTW members.

Hon Olamide George and Faloju Abimbola were sworn-in on Friday as the new speaker and deputy speaker respectively.

Meanwhile, a peace meeting called by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, weekend, to reverse the impeachment was shunned by the 18 lawmakers. Only the seven members in the camp of the sacked leaders attended.

It was gathered that the lawmakers boycotted the meeting because of their safety after the attack of last Friday.

A petition to the Inspector-General of Police signed by the new speaker, his deputy and the Majority Leader, Gbenga Araoyinbo, also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rescue them from alleged reign of terror in the state, alleging that since Friday, their family members were being threatened over the impeachment.

George said that the former speaker and his deputy were impeached over gross misconduct, financial recklessness, abuse of power and incompetence.

"We are duly elected members of the state assembly, acting within the confines of the constitutional duties at plenary. Surprisingly, the impeached speaker led to the assembly, Mr Gbenga Adeyanju, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ade Adetimehin, State APC Chairman, Mr Jacob Adebo, State Chairman, NURTW, about 50 heavily armed officers and thugs. They invaded the assembly and assaulted honourable members, assembly staff, journalists and visitors to the assembly complex," he said.

George said there are video and pictorial documentations of the alleged vandalization of cars and properties worth several millions of naira by thugs under the supervision of Adeyanju.

Faloju, the new deputy speaker, corroborated George's claims and called on Inspector General of Police to immediately redeploy the commissioner of police from the state, who he accused of bias.

He stated that 18 out of the 26 lawmakers, which represented two-third carried out the impeachment, adding that they have the 18 names and signatures of members who impeached the speaker and his deputy

A former speaker of the assembly, Olajumoke Akindele, who was allegedly assaulted in the mayhem unleashed on the assembly, called on the president and his wife, Hajia Aisha Buhari to protect women in politics from molestation, intimidation and harassment which were meted to her on Friday.

"My family members, my colleagues and my dear life are no longer safe. I have been marked for assassination for standing against corruption," she said.

They equally appealed to Governor Akeredolu to allow the legislative arm of government function independently without interference.

Meanwhile, the APC in the state has denied involvement in the invasion of the assembly last week by thugs.

A statement by its State Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye, dissociated the state chairman, Ade Adetimehin, from the invasion.

He said: "it is disheartening that hoodlums would invade the hallowed chambers of any Assembly, and harass members. No government would condone such behaviour. We urge security agencies to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter and ensure punishment or sanction of those found culpable.

"It therefore amounts to a deliberate blackmail for any person or group to insinuate or say that a well-cultured democrat like Mr. Adetimehin would lead thugs to attack the honourable members of the House."

Nigeria

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