Benue Assembly: Lawmakers Clash Over Defection, Majority Leadership
Lawmakers at the Benue State House of Assembly, north-central Nigeria, clashed on Tuesday following a letter addressed to the Speaker by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to appoint majority leader for the Assembly.
The APC and the Peoples Democratic Party’s free for all fight at plenary started when the Speaker of the Benue Assembly, Mr Terkimbi Kyange, read the APC’s letter in which it claimed majority after a lawmaker of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected into its fold, which gave it a marginal lead over the PDP.
Normal legislative activities had began peacefully with the adoption of proceedings without any sign of an impending pandemonium before the chamber became a boxing ring minutes later.
The lawmaker in the eye of the storm, Mr Nick Eworo, hinged his defection on his expulsion from the PDP at the local government level.
The PDP lawmakers quickly arrested the reading of the letter via a motion to declare the seat of Mr Eworo vacant in line with Section 190 of the 1999 constitution.
Points of order for and against the motion of the PDP lawmakers to declare Mr Eworo’s seat vacant flew from all directions.
Mr Kyange then overruled the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers’ motion, declining the request to declare the said member’s seat vacant.
The APC-PDP clash soon degenerated into a free for all physical combat and fighting, while some female lawmakers scampered for safety after heated argument with other colleagues.
The Sergeant At-Arm quickly removed the mace while fighting was going on.
However, a legislator, Tema Kester, on behalf of the PDP lawmakers vowed to resist the move which they described as a rape on the constitution.
While the Speaker hurriedly adjourned sitting till Thursday, activities at the State’s Assembly continued without any sign of prior civil disturbances.