16 November 2018

Nigeria: Police Take Over Anambra Assembly

Awka — The crisis in the Anambra State House of Assembly took a turn for the worse yesterday prompting police to take over the complex to avoid breakdown of law and order.

Trouble started on Tuesday with the purported impeachment of the Speaker, Rita Maduagwu.

Maduagwu was impeached by 20 out of 30 members of the House and Mr. Ikem Uzoezie was appointed as the new speaker.

However, Uzoezie could not mount the saddle because the clerk of the House took away the mace and refused to inaugurate him.

The embattled Maduagwu, at the resumed sitting yesterday, said she remained the speaker, insisting that the lawmakers did not fulfil the constitutional requirements for her removal.

Daily Trust gathered that the presence of the police followed fears that the two groups of lawmakers - pro and against impeachment - might clash.

Hundreds of policemen took over the premises and sprayed tear gas in the air; while lawmakers and journalists scampered for safety.

The embattled speaker, who later addressed the press, said she remained the speaker and denounced those who impeached her.

As the crisis in the House raged, another scenario was playing out at the secretariat of APGA in Awka where the state Chairman of the party, Chief Norbert Obi, announced the suspension of the factional Speaker, Uzoezie, and two others, Barr. Hartford Oseke and Hon. Victor Okoye, from the party.

Chief Obi said after reviewing the circumstances surrounding the impeachment of Rita Maduagwu on Tuesday and the role played by Uzoezie, it became expedient to suspend the key player in the saga "to save the party from self-destruction", adding that the party would not condone such internal wrangling.

"Granted the fact that we had problems during the just concluded party primaries in the state, this is not enough to pull the party down; more so when the party has inaugurated a reconciliation committee to look into the grievances of the aggrieved aspirants and members of the party.

"Every right-thinking Igbo man knows that APGA is not only a party but a movement for the actualisation of Igbo agenda in the Nigerian polity. It will amount to shooting oneself in the leg for any Igbo man to pursue the destruction of APGA," he said.

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