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My impeachment illegal, says Niger Speaker

By The Citizen
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The embattled Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Adamu Usman, has said he remains the authentic presiding officer of the state's legislative chamber.

On Tuesday, 18 out of the House's 27 lawmakers impeached Usman with Isa Kawu of Bida 1 state constituency elected as the new Speaker afterward.

But the impeached lawmaker told SUNDAY PUNCH that his removal was illegal.

Usman added that he had sought a court order restraining the lawmakers from proceeding with any impeachment process against him but the lawmakers flouted the order.

He said, 'My removal is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void. The entire process was illegal. I have the order and the order was served; I joined the Police, the Director of State Security Service, I joined the members of the House of Assembly including the Clerk of the House.'

He also said that the action of the lawmakers, who impeached him, was baseless, claiming that they had an interest in removing him.

'There is no allegation that I know of made against me; there is no mention of gross misconduct or any other thing. Usually in our parliamentary proceedings, most of the principal officers are usually impeached against the background of financial misconduct or otherwise. As regards my purported impeachment, they have nothing against me. As a matter of fact, all of them confirmed that I had done nothing wrong.

'Then, I wonder why should they impeach me? For the past three years I have led the House without any drama; even if I have done something wrong, I expect that, as colleagues, they would have reprimanded me but urge me to carry on. Even late last year, a vote of confidence was passed on me by the same honourable members. I feel sad because the same set of people wanted me to be removed. Why would they want to change the House leadership without reasons? I was not in the chamber when they moved the motion for my impeachment,' Usman said. He also denied working for Governor Aliyu Babangida.

Usman stated, 'Since I have been the Speaker of the House I have neither been for or against the governor. In any case, the issue of pro-governor should not necessitate the current parliamentary crisis. To me, it's just semantics. The unfortunate thing is with people's misconception. In Nigeria, all the state houses of assembly operate as co-partners but most times the legislature is subservient to the executive because the executive controls the funds.' Punch