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Senate probes police over seal of A/Ibom Assembly

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By Olugbenga Salami

The National Assembly on Wednesday ordered thorough investigation into the alleged seal of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in Uyo by officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF with a view to ascertain reason for the action of the security agency.

This is even as Senator Albert Akpan, PDP-Akwa Ibom North-East, who moved a motion on the development through Order 43 of the Senate standing rules, alleged that the police action was meant to pave way for the impeachment of Governor Udom Emmanuel from office.

Senator Akpan told journalists in Abuja that five out of 26 lawmakers in the state, who claimed to have sacked the Assembly leadership, are trying to impeach the governor by causing trouble in the state.

According to him, “there were no cases of armed robbery, kidnappings and criminal activities in the state until the defection of my leader, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio from PDP”.

The lawmaker said he had informed the Senate on the alleged orchestrated plan the All Progressives Congress, APC to disrupt peace of the state ahead of next year’s elections.

Earlier while moving motion on the police seal of the Assembly, Senator Akpan, informed his colleagues that over 1, 500 policemen invaded the premises of the House of Assembly yesterday and sealed it, thereby preventing the lawmakers from carrying out their legislative duties.
According to him, reason for the police’s action is still unclear, but warned that security agencies should not involve themselves in partisan politics.

He therefore urged the upper legislative chamber to direct the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris to order his men out of the Assembly complex so that the state lawmakers could have access to their offices and the chamber to discharge their legislative functions.

“Mr. President, I want this Senate to direct the Committee on Police Affairs to investigate the police seal of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. The senate should first orders the vacation of the Assembly complex by the police.

“According to what I heard and what I’ve seen, over 1, 500 policemen invaded and seal the state House of Assembly this morning and they’re still there as I speak.

“I want my colleagues to know that a threat to democracy in Akwa Ibom is a threat to democracy in Nigeria”, he stressed.

Contributing, Senator Shehu Sani, PRP-Kaduna Central, described the sealing of the Assembly as “a clear ambiguous and aberration which should should not be supported by any Senator because of politics”.

He therefore urged the Senate to take a strong position on the police action so as to send a serious signal to the the security agencies against interference in legislative functions.

In his ruling, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, directed the Committee on Police Affairs to investigate the alleged sealing of the Assembly complex by the police in order to ascertain the reason for their action.

Saraki said: “What is wrong is wrong. It’s wrong for a parliament to be sealed by security agents. We should not be partisan about it, but it’s necessary we allow the Committee on Police Affairs to investigate it because it’s still an allegation by a member which should be investigated”.

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