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Benue State House Assembly under locks

Middle Belt Forum, Afenifere flay alleged impeachment bid
•Benue Assembly shut, says governor’s aide

THE Presidency has denied the allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari was behind moves by some Benue State lawmakers to unseat Governor Samuel Ortom.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Buhari would never be part of any unconstitutional act.

He said: “Even while attending the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)/Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) Summit in Togo, strident attempts were being made to drag the President into the unfolding drama between the executive and the legislature in Benue State.

“Statements have been issued by different interest groups, insinuating that the President may have a hand in the development in Benue.

“This is paranoia at its worst, coming from people who have wittingly positioned themselves against the clean-up of the country, and the way we do things. They prefer business as usual.

“President Buhari will never be part of any unconstitutional act, and any attempt to link him with the inglorious past, when minority number of lawmakers impeached governors, will not stick.

According to Adesina, they only preach separation of powers and true federalism whenever it suits them and also calling on the President to interfere brazenly in affairs at state level.

But, a group, Middle Belt Forum (MBF), has called on the President to rein in the police.

The group alleged that the role of the police in Monday’s impeachment plans against Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom was tantamount to causing anarchy.

Speaking to reporters in Abuja on the crisis, MBF President Dr. Pogu Bitrus said the police took side with the eight legislators with the intention of removing the governor through the backdoor.

Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, described the development in which eight legislators purportedly suspended 15 of their colleagues and served an impeachment notice on Ortom as ridiculous.

Afenifere said such scenario should not be allowed in any part of Nigeria.

Security operatives have shut down the Benu State House of Assembly.

The Assembly has been the theatre of clashes between two groups of lawmakers.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters Col. Paul Hembe (retd) and the Clerk of the House, Dr. Torese Agena, told reporters in Makurdi, the state capital, yesterday that before shutting the complex, securitymen chased officials out of their ofices.

The security adviser added that when he contacted Commissioner of Police, Bensan Gwana, he told him he was attending the Inspector General conference.

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