Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Benue lawmakers bicker on live TV over Ortom’s impeachment notice

Benue lawmakers bicker on live TV over Ortom’s impeachment notice
July 31
12:06 2018
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Benjamin Adayi, a member of Benue house of assembly, says the impeachment proceedings against Samuel Ortom, the state governor, is being done within the provisions of the law.

He said 12 of the 30 lawmakers sat on Monday to commence the governor’s impeachment process and not eight as was reported.

Reports had emerged that only eight of the lawmakers attended the plenary where the process was kick-started, while some 18 others were turned back by security operatives stationed at the assembly complex.

Speaking during a Channels TV programme on Tuesday, Adayi said the lawmakers had more than the two-thirds majority required to commence the impeachment process.

Another member of the house – Paul Biam – who also featured on the programme contradicted him, saying 22 of them were absent at the sitting.

Biam said while 18 of them were prevented entrance, four others were at the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“This is evidence of those of us that were not there yesterday, there were 18 of us. And this four were at the EFCC on invitation which is verifiable, making it 22,” he said while displaying two papers.

“Now it is surprising to me a parliamentarian of this level could make this allusion. I am saying there are seven of them not eight because the speaker who presided ab initio was on suspension and lacked the capacity to preside. And so, he is not taken as a member.”

But Adayi insisted they were up to the required quorum.

“We were 12 and not 8. We had informed the clerk seven days before the sitting because the speaker was not available so we did not go against the laws,” he said.

On why the lawmakers began the impeachment process only after the governor left the All Progressives Congress (APC), he said: “There were things we discovered during oversight such as lack of payment of salaries. They did come up before now.

“We had summoned the commissioner of finance, the accountant-general, the adviser to the governor. It was only a coincidence this is happening now after he left the party.”

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