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Crisis rocks Abia assembly over alleged impeachment of Speaker

The Abia State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji was, on Tuesday, allegedly impeached by 18 out of 24 members of the House.

However, in a reconvened plenary of the House later in the afternoon, 8 members of the House and the Speaker suspended those who impeached him.

Sources have it that the motion for the Speaker’s impeachment was moved by Hon Kennedy Njoku, a member representing Osisioma North Constituency, and was seconded by Hon Chukwu Chijioke, member representing Bende North State Constituency, citing “financial recklessness and being insensitive to the welfare of members of the House”.

However in an unscheduled reconvention of the House, the Speaker dismissed the impeachment, stating that “It is improper for the House to reconvene without the mandate of the Speaker outside the hallowed chamber of this premises”.

The House thereby suspended 9 members who were seen in a video to that effect of the 18 members that signed the impeachment notice, including the Deputy Speaker on the grounds that those not suspended may have had their names included in a petition signed by the members without their consent.

The House subsequently replaced the Deputy Speaker, Ifeanyi Uchendu with Mandela Obasi, while Emeka Okafor was elected the Minority Leader.

The House further urged the Police and the DSS to refrain the suspended members from coming into the Assembly premises, and inaugurated an ethics committee to investigate them.

Orji, son of the former governor of the state, Theodore Orji, lost the February 25 National Assembly poll for Ikwuano/Umuahia North/Umuahia South Federal Constituency.

Operatives of the Nigerian Police Force have taken over the entrance gate of the state assembly to prevent any possible breakdown of law and order, as directed by the Speaker.

Meanwhile, the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has offered to mediate in the crisis in the State House of Assembly.

In a release by Onyebuchi Ememanka, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ikpeazu is of the firm view that with barely less than one month to the end of his administration and the ushering of a new administration, it will absolutely make no sense to engage in any issue that is likely to plunge the State into any form of confusion.

“Governor Ikpeazu’s main preoccupation at the moment is how to pilot the Ship of State peacefully and steadily into the new administration and tie up all administrative matters including the completion of key projects.

“The Governor, therefore, does not have the luxury of time and resources for any crisis at the moment. Above all, the mood in the State makes any such move inexpedient”.

Governor Ikpeazu, he said, therefore appealed to the Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji and members of that Assembly to maintain the peace and allow reason and patriotism to guide their actions, assuring that the Governor will be meeting with the members shortly.

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