Posted by Emman Ovuakporie, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Peter Duru, Abuja | 1 August 2018 | 1,478 times
The Presidency, yesterday, exonerated President Muhammadu Buhari from the impeachment notice served on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State by eight of the 30 members of the state House of Assembly.
The Presidency’s reaction came as Security Adviser to Governor Ortom, Col. Paul Hemba (retd) quoted the state’s Police Commissioner, Besan Gwana, as saying that the decision to seal off the state House of Assembly was based on order from above.
But the Police Commissioner feigned ignorance of the shut down of the complex, saying he was in Abuja at the time of the closure.
Policemen had earlier in the day sealed the Assembly complex, chasing out civil servants who are staff of the State House of Assembly.
This is even as All Progressives Congress, APC, caucus in the House of Representatives, yesterday, advised their colleagues in Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to probe the alleged role of the police in the impeachment notice served Governor Ortom and push for the House to be reconvened to achieve the purpose.
However, the Presidency described as paranoia allegations by some persons that President Buhari was behind the impeachment saga in the state, adding that the President will not interfere in a state matter that involved the executive and legislature.
Allegations wild, paranoia, says Presidency
A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, in Abuja read: “Even while attending the ECOWAS/ECCAS Summit in Togo, strident attempts were made to drag President Muhammadu Buhari into the unfolding drama between the executive and the legislature in Benue State.
“Statements have been issued by different interest groups, insinuating that the President may have a hand in the development in Benue.
“This is paranoia at its worst, coming from people who have wittingly positioned themselves against the clean-up of the country, and the way we do things. They prefer business as usual.
“President Buhari will never be part of any unconstitutional act, and any attempt to link him with the inglorious past, when minority number of lawmakers impeached governors, will not stick.
“President Buhari will always stand by all that is noble and fair, and will reject attempts to drag him into infamy.”
Workers chased out
Meanwhile, workers at Benue State House of Assembly were yesterday chased out of their offices and duty posts by stern-looking armed police personnel who also sealed up the Assembly complex.
Confirming the development, Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Dr. Torese Agena, said the armed police personnel, on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Besan Gwana, forced workers in the Assembly complex out of their offices.
Agena said: “Today (yesterday), after two hours of resumption of work, we had orders from the security men that Benue State Commissioner of Police has given an order that all staff should vacate the Assembly.
“This to me is harassment, one that is too many because for two weeks now, staff of the Assembly have not been allowed to do their work.
“That is why we are urging the media to assist us tell the Commissioner of Police, Benue command and to prevail on the Commander in Chief of this country to direct the Inspector General of Police to withdraw from the premises of the Assembly so that staff can do their work unhindered. I and all staff were chased out of the premises today (yesterday).
“The Police personnel who chased us out told us that the Commissioner of Police ordered them to chase us out of the complex and no definite time was given as to when we would return to our duty posts.
“We are crying out because this action will stop us from doing our work and it is going to impede the work of the legislature. And, of course, it will obviously affect the livelihood of the generality of Benue people negatively.”
Gov’s CSO speaks
Speaking on the development, Security Adviser to the State Governor, Col. Paul Hemba, retd., who confirmed the development, said he gathered from the Benue Police Commissioner that the order to seal up the complex was one from above, adding that the Police personnel were at the Assembly complex for security purposes.
He said: “I got in touch with the Commissioner of Police and he confirmed that yes, indeed, that it was the instruction and that he was acting on order from above.”
CP denies knowledge
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police, Besan Gwana, who feigned ignorance of the development, said: “I’m not in Makurdi, I am in Abuja at the moment, I will inquire from my officers and know whether there was anything like that and get back to you.”
APC Reps caucus
Also yesterday, APC caucus in the House of Representatives House advised their colleagues in PDP to probe the alleged role of the police in the Benue State governor’s impeachment notice and push for the House to reconvene for the purpose.
In a statement personally signed by the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, APC, Lagos; the caucus said: “While we agree that the purported impeachment of Benue State governor by eight members cannot pass the smell test under the constitution, we find it strange and hyperbolic that the PDP caucus in the House in a knee-jerk reaction will try to tie the President to same.”
•Culled from a Vanguard report
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