The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has replied the Federal House of Representatives’ threat to shut down the Edo State House of Assembly, insisting that it does not have the constitutional provisions or power to do so.
TOS TV gathered that the Obaseki administration was responding to Wednesday’s resolution of the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly,ordering the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), and the Director-General of the Department of State Security Services (DSS), to seal off the complex, until a proper inauguration is done.
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The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, in a statement in Benin city, insisted that: “There is nowhere in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), where the House of Representatives or even the National Assembly for that matter, is granted the right or power to shutdown a State House of Assembly.”
According to him: “The government and people of Edo State, are appalled and disappointed at the gross illegality and abuse of process by the House of Representatives.”
He explained: “It must first of all be pointed out that the emergency supervisory powers over the activities of State Houses of Assembly which are contained in section 11 of the Constitution of our Republic, are expressly donated to the National Assembly, and not one individual arm of it.
“These powers certainly do not extend to issuing directives to a duly elected State Governor, to unlawfully repeat an act which has already been fully carried out in line with the Constitution.
“It has further not been alleged or concluded by anyone, that the Edo State House of Assembly is unable to sit. In fact, whenever the ‘self-exiled’ Members-elect so choose, they can join their colleagues in plenary in Benin City.”
Ogie added: “It is also instructive to note that while the Members of the House of Representatives were busy in Abuja, issuing their unlawful and unconstitutional orders, the Fact-Finding delegation of the Distinguished Senate was in Benin, meeting with Stakeholders, with a view to fashioning a road map to peace in our land.
“Students of history will recall that the crisis in the Western Region Parliament in the 1960s, which triggered a conflagration that eventually engulfed the entire nation, were precipitated by a similar attempt to use ‘Federal might’ to muzzle, intimidate, and overwhelm the functionaries of a Federating Unit outside the due process of law”, the SSG said.
Speaking further, he said: “Since the situation in the Edo State House of Assembly is a matter currently pending before two courts of competent jurisdiction, the Government of Edo State would not follow the contemptuous example of those who are currently commenting, adjudicating upon, and giving directives on matters currently being litigated upon.”
However, a State High Court sitting in Benin city, has rejected a plea for an interim injunction filed by the 12 pro-Oshiomhole Members-elect, asking it to restrain Security Agencies from barricading and cordoning off the Assembly complex, so that they can take over the Chamber.
The court, headed by Justice Erhabor, later adjourned the substantive suit to July 24. Though the Claimants were not in court, they were represented by their Lawyer.
The suit, B/81OS/2019, was filed by Victor Edoror (Esan Central), and 11 others.
Besides, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has cautioned the Leadership of the House of Representatives against ‘unconstitutional’ acts that could trigger a constitutional crisis in the State and the nation at large.
In a statement, yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party stated that its order to Security Agencies to seal the complex, was unconstitutional and provocative.
Also yesterday, scores of youths staged a solidarity march in the Edo capital, to fault the resolution of the Federal Legislators.
Their Spokesman, Rev. Olu Martins, said that the directive was uncalled for, since the matter was already in court.
However, Leaders of the All Progressives Congress in the State under the aegis of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), on Thursday, July 18, lauded the resolution.
In a statement by a former Attorney-General of the State and co-Convener, Henry Idahagbon, and Samson Osagie, they called on the people to resist tyranny.
Also, a group, the Joint Action for the Advancement of Democracy (JAAD), in a statement by its Leader, Comrade Aiyamenkhue Edokpolor, said that the resolution reaffirms the sanctity of democracy and the rule of law.