Benue State House of Assembly has been drawn into crisis since its speaker was impeached last week.
All Progressives Congress, APC, lawmakers in Benue State House of Assembly who are seeking the removal of Samuel Ortom have listed corruption allegations against the governor, accusing him of misappropriating billions in public funds while state workers groan amidst unpaid salaries.
Reports out of Makurdi, the state capital, on Monday, July 30, 2018, said eight lawmakers took over the premises, suspended 22 remaining lawmakers and served an impeachment notice on Mr. Ortom.
The Assembly has 30 members in total. It would take at least two-thirds to impeach the governor. Also, eight members cannot form a quorum, which requires at least one-third of the total.
But the APC lawmakers, led by Terkimbi Ikyange, who was impeached as speaker last week by at least 22 members of the assembly, said they are capable of impeaching the governor. They reportedly took over the parliament this morning based on security arrangements provided by the police and the State Security Service.
Mr. Ikyange told journalists in Makurdi Monday, July 30, 2018, that they had passed articles of impeachment against Mr. Ortom and would serve him a notice “within seven days,” the News Agency of Nigeria reported.
Mr. Ikyange said he has nine other lawmakers with him, giving his group 10 lawmakers in total. While this is enough to form a quorum, it is insufficient to impeach a governor as required by the Nigerian Constitution.
Also, NAN reported that Mr Ikyange only said they are 10 lawmakers, but did not provide the identities of the remaining nine. Reporters were also barred from observing the proceeding of the alleged 10 lawmakers.
He accused Mr. Ortorm of squandering N54 billion in state funds, N22 billion from security votes while N32 billion was from local government funds.
The alleged corruption, by Mr. Ortom, he said, resulted in the ongoing crisis about state workers’ salaries. Teachers and other civil servants, including those on minimum wage have sparred with Mr. Ortom over irregular payments of salaries and emoluments.
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