Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Tuesday declared as void, the purported inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly and ordered the Inspector – General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS) to seal off the state Assembly premises until a proper inauguration is conducted.

The House also asked the state governor, Godwin Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation of the Seventh Assembly within one week. The House added that the proclamation must be published by the media.

The directives form part of the recommendations by an ad hoc committee set up by the House to investigate the crisis in the Assembly. The Committee’s report was considered and adopted during Wednesday’s plenary.

The Edo Assembly was inaugurated under controversial circumstance on June 17, 2019 when nine out of 24 members-elect held an early morning inauguration ceremony and elected Frank Okiye as Speaker.

Acting on a motion moved by a representative from Edo State, Julius Ihonvbere, the Federal lawmakers had last week set up the committee led by Abdurazak Namdas to look into the crisis and recommend measures to be taken.

Presenting the report, Namdas said the panel discovered that Governor Obaseki did not indicate the time for the inauguration, thereby creating the confusion among members-elect of the Assembly.

He further noted that two of the nine members-elect who participated in the said inauguration confessed before the panel to have done so under duress.

“That the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, in the interest of peaceful coexistence of the state should issue a fresh proclamation within one week in line with Section 105( 3 ) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended ), stating the date, time and venue and publish in any national daily and television station.

“That all actions taken by the 7th Assembly members should be declared null and void pending proper inauguration .

“That all members of the Edo State House of Assembly, both those who have been inaugurated and those who have not been inaugurated should dissolve their factions in the interest of peace and stability of the House, with the view to moving the state forward.

“That the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General, Department of State Services should shut down the Edo State House of Assembly and provide adequate security to allay further fears of intimidation and threat as alleged by members- elect.

“Where recommendations 1, 2 and 3 above fail, the National Assembly should invoke the provisions of Section 11 ( 4 ) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to take over the state House of Assembly until the situation normalizes,” the panel recommended.