Rt.Hon.Paul Biam is the member representing Ukum State Constituency on the platform of the PDP and chairman, house standing committee on Information. In this interaction, he spoke on the current happenings in assembly; adducing reasons why the former speaker, Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange was impeached and suspended for a period of six months. AUSTINE TULE, was there for the AUTHORITY
What is the offense of the impeached speaker Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange that warrant his suspension for six months during the house’s plenary last Friday?
Well, let me thank you for this opportunity to speak on the happenings in the Benue state house of assembly in the past one week. The house sat with 22 members signed their signatures for vote of no confidence on the then speaker Terkimbi Ikyange and other principal officers like his deputy and majority leader and this was done in the strict compliance with the lay down rules of the house which empowers two third members of the house even if it was on recess to reconvene to do legislative business. After conveying a letter to the Clerk of the house, and the Clerk had acknowledged the letter requesting a motion by 22 members which is more than two third by our rules. Other than that, in a motion that removed or passed a vote of no confidence on the previous leadership on issues of high handedness and misconduct. This was further substantiated after which on 27th July, 2018 our resolutions were passed to members of the press. We had occasion to caution ourselves and it became obvious that the degree of high handedness in the previous leadership could no longer be contained by 22 out of the 30 members. It therefore, baffles me that after due diligence, the former speaker went on air debunking and saying his impeachment was illegal and that he is still the speaker of the house and his remarks touched on the sensibilities of more than two third members and it is against the code of conduct and privileges attached to members of the house and this is one of the reasons why he was suspended. It does not only stop at the former speaker, any erring member of the house in this direction will face the same fate.
Above all, the legality of it all is that the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended allows a state house of assembly to regulate its own proceedings other than the standing rules covered by the constitution of the country. Therefore, the assembly have the right to legislate over matters that affect us as a people. When members found that the assembly complex was besieged by security forces, we tried to know but all that we found was that it was orders from the above. We are not police men but law abiding citizens and decided to back out of the assembly premises and has come to Benue People’s House Makurdi where we are secured and carried out plenary and serious decisions were taken on serious issues affecting the state; one of them was the suspension of former speaker Ikyange for the period of six months.
Sir, in an event where the motion passed during plenary calling for the removal of security that blocked the assembly premises is not complied. What is the assembly’s next line of action?
Usually, it has been the worry and powers of the assembly where resolutions are passed, people who feel they have power more than the constitution act in the contrary and therefore, it is the duty of the press to take such impunity to the public domain that suck power brokers own us a duty to adhere to the resolutions taken and we are expecting that the security forces will abide by it.
It was gathered that 24hours after the impeachment of the former speaker, EFCC operatives invited some members of the assembly and label them with corruption charges. How true or otherwise is this assertion?
It is not true. For anyone who is familiar with the happenings in the Benue assembly in recent past, some members were invited by the EFCC not really in relation with corruption but on issues created by the previous leadership of the assembly in connection with the purchase of operating or oversight vehicles and the former speaker and some members except those that took custody of the vehicle and it has been a protracted issue and resolution was nearly met. Of course, some members of the house appeared before EFCC and were granted bail and the matter was near over.