Impeachment Scare: Police Seal-Off Imo Assembly
The Imo State House of Assembly was yesterday sealed off by stern looking Mobile Policemen; barring state lawmakers and other parliamentary workers from the Assembly complex. A Police Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) was used to block off the main entry gate to the state Assembly Complex while seven truck loads of policemen were scattered in strategic positions within and outside the complex. Traffic to the Assembly Complex was also blocked and diverted.
Our correspondent however gathered that there was a serious plot to impeach the Speaker of the State parliament, Mr. Goodluck Opiah, which the Speaker incidentally got wind of and adjourned sitting to June 2, 2011 after a new dispensation would have commenced.
A group of 19 lawmakers in the Imo Assembly however accused Opiah of cunningly shutting down the state parliament before its legitimate end.
In a press conference by the group led by Hon. Amaechi Nwoha representing Nwangele state constituency, the lawmakers said that the speaker sat with a few members and adjourned sitting to May 31st and later extended it to June 2 and immediately traveled out to Lagos .
The group said that there are myriads of transition challenges facing the state today and this was the wrong time to shut down the Assembly.
According to Amaechi Nwoha, the Imo lawmakers were still being owed two month salary; the state civil servants were also being owed two months salary. Rumours are rife that the state account was in the red while it has so far been established that the state is indebted to UBA alone to the tune of N6.5Billion and have since ceased doing business with the state or its proxies.
His words: 'In view of these and other challenges, 19 out of the 27 lawmakers in the Assembly resolved to reconvene the House with or without the Speaker. We are not witch hunting anybody, we are not interested in impeaching anybody but if in the course of doing our work, anybody becomes an obstacle, we would not hesitate to impeach such a person. At least the people have a right to know the state of the accounts of the state.'
Reacting, the Speaker who spoke through his Press Secretary, Mr. Kelechi Mejiobi said that security agents were brought in to forestall the plot by some lawmakers and their thugs to unleash mayhem on other members. According to Mejuobi, the allegations and resolve by the legislators to sit are in bad faith.
Hear him, 'Why now? Why didn't they act or react to issues raised in the last plenary until now? Their denial of witch-hunting is a lie and they are clearly acting out the script of some external forces bent on political vendetta.'
Meanwhile, it has been speculated that the house members are also worried by the fact that they have several arrears of outstanding allowances. And with the reality of a spent treasury, the possibility of paying them their severance benefit stands bleak when they are two months adrift in unpaid salaries.