Bukola Saraki, Senate President, and Yakubu Dogara, Speaker, House of Representatives, have criticised lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State for attempting to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom.
Both leaders of the National Assembly expressed their misgivings about the Benue political crisis on Monday in a statement jointly signed by their spokespersons.
According to them, the move by the eight APC lawmakers, who are the minority, to impeach the Governor and suspend 22 lawmakers of the Peoples' Democratic Party, PDP, is "undemocratic" and a desecration of the legislature.
Saraki and Dogara also alleged that the Police had been complicit in the situation by providing cover for the minority lawmakers to proceed with their actions.
The statement read, “We have monitored closely the development in Benue State in which the impeached Speaker, Terkimbi Ikyange, led seven other members to serve impeachment notice on the State Governor, Samuel Ortom, while the 22 other members who constitute more than the two-thirds majority have been prevented from having access to the chamber,” they said.
“We also note with surprise the role of the police in this undemocratic event in which the minority is seeking to impeach a Governor against the position of the majority. We believe it is the sacred institution of the legislature that is being desecrated and rubbished in all these negative developments.”
Noting that the atmosphere in the state was already tense due to the herdsmen/farmers' clashes, the Senate President and the Speaker called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the Police to desist from being used to achieve political purposes.
They also called on the international community to intervene in the situation and not allow the country's democracy to be subverted.
They said, “We believe this unlawful and unconstitutional move to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom by a minority should be condemned by all lovers of democracy, at home and abroad. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the police to order and prevent a break-down of law and order.
“We also call on friends of Nigeria in the international community to lend their voice in condemning the perpetration of illegalities and actions that can subvert our democracy.
“There is already a tense atmosphere in Benue State following the recent killings. Nobody should encourage any action or move which may exacerbate the security situation in the North-Central state.
“As leaders of the Federal legislature, we are ready to work with our colleagues in both chambers of the National Assembly to prevent any attempt to destroy any state legislature or use it to derail democracy.”
Newsbreak.ng recalls that the APC lawmakers served Governor Ortom with a notice of impeachment on Monday, alleging financial misappropriation and abuse of funds.
Unable to gain access to the Assembly's complex, the PDP lawmakers assembled at the Government House complex and suspended their APC colleagues, who had earlier suspended the former.