We don't have keys to Enugu assembly complex — Police
The Enugu State Police Command on Saturday denied locking up the state house of assembly, which has been under lock and key since about 14 lawmakers moved to impeach Governor Sullivan Chime on May 3.
The House was thrown into crisis after the development, as about seven lawmakers, who were opposed to the planned impeachment, removed the Speaker, Eugene Odoh, and elected Chinedu Nwamba in his place.
Odoh and Nwamba are both laying claims to the office of the Speaker, but the closure of the legislative complex meant that none has had the opportunity to preside over the House since May 3.
However, following an ex parte application by Odoh, an Enugu Federal High Court ordered the police to reopen the assembly, to enable the lawmakers gain access to the legislative chambers in order to discharge their duties.
About a week after the court order, the house of assembly is still locked, and a team of anti-riot policemen remain in position in front of the locked entrance gate.
The development prompted the court to threaten to commit the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, who is a defendant in the suit filed by the Speaker, Odoh, to prison for contempt of court.
But the police have denied locking the assembly.
The spokesman of the Enugu State Police Command, Ebere Amaraizu, in an interview with our correspondent, said the police were not in possession of the keys of the padlocks used to lock the legislative complex.
He said the anti-riot police squad was only positioned in front of the locked gate in order to maintain law and order.
The police spokesman pointed out that a police station is situated within the legislative complex.
Speaking to our correspondent on the telephone, Amaraizu said, 'We (police) are not in possession of the keys, we are not the lawmakers, neither are we the sergeant-at-arms of the house of assembly.
'We did not lock any gate - our presence there is to maintain law and order. Remember we have a police station there, therefore nobody should join issues with us. The police force is not the key-holders, we are not in possession of the keys.'
Meanwhile, Odoh is expected at the state police headquarters on Monday, having been invited by the police over some allegations raised against the governor in the impeachment notice.
Also invited by the police is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, former National Auditor, Mr. Ray Nnaji, who had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, seeking the investigation of several allegations bordering on official corruption against the governor. Punch