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Police seal Anambra Govt House

Posted by From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka on 2006/10/26 | Views: 1088 |

Police seal Anambra Govt House


The Anambra State House of Assembly on Wednesday afternoon passed a resolution directing the State Chief Judge, Justice Chuka Jideofor Okoli to set up a seven-man panel to investigate the 11–point gross misconduct allegations against Governor Peter Obi.

• House directs CJ to set up panel to investigate Obi

The Anambra State House of Assembly on Wednesday afternoon passed a resolution directing the State Chief Judge, Justice Chuka Jideofor Okoli to set up a seven-man panel to investigate the 11–point gross misconduct allegations against Governor Peter Obi.

Governor Obi had, earlier in the day, sacked the clerk of the House, Dr. Aloysius G. Ikwuka and in his stead, appointed Mr. Frank A. Onyenwuzo.

The two developments heightened tension in the state capital, Awka, as police took over strategic points to avoid breakdown of law and order, just as they turned back people from getting into the Government House, including newsmen.

Sixteen members of the House, who arrived the Assembly Complex at about 1:30pm in four new Hiace buses, and under tight security, sat for 15 minutes with the Speaker, Hon. Mike Balonwu presiding, and the Clerk sacked by Obi on duty with his deputy.

Before their arrival, a contingent of armed mobile policemen in four trucks had cleared people, including those who came for protest, with the view to ensuring tight security for the smooth sitting of members of the House.

After leading the opening prayer himself, the Speaker apologised that the order paper for the day’s sitting was not ready and urged the House to continue with the sitting. He then called on the minority leader to move his motion of urgent state importance.

The Majority Leader, Sir. Humphery Nsofor, in moving the motion for the Chief Judge to set up the panel, recalled the earlier impeachment notice to the governor and said that under Section 185 (4,5), the House was in the right direction to request the Chief Judge to, within seven days, constitute a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations against Obi and report back to it.

His motion was seconded by the member representing Anambra East constituency, Hon. Theophilus Ossy Chinwuba and was unanimously passed by the House.

The Speaker remarked that the Clerk earlier sacked by the governor remained the Clerk of the House, as well as his deputy. He said: "Let me make it clear that the Clerk and the Deputy Clerk remain staff of the Assembly till further notice. We are not aware of any appointment of any new Clerk."

In seconding the motion for adjournment of the House sine-die, moved by the majority leader, the Deputy Speaker, Chief Ozo Ughamadu, explained that what the legislature had embarked upon was a constitutional issue, stressing that the sacred duty of legislation should be encouraged in any democratic setting.
He appealed to the people to see what the lawmakers are doing as a worthy assignment to secure the state and save it from lawlessness.

Speaking on Governor Obi’s position that the Speaker had requested for a new Clerk, the House Committee Chairman on Information, Hon. Echezona Okechi, said the Speaker never made any such request, describing it as part of the governor’s illegalities.

Obi, while swearing in the new Clerk earlier, had said: "We urge you to go and serve Anambra State. We want you to do what is for the best interest of Anambra State, in building this new state which we call the Light of the Nation."

However, in a statement earlier in the day, signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Chidi Ezeoke, government said the termination of Dr. Ikwuka’s appointment took effect from Friday, October 20, 2006.

It said that government was constrained to take the action because Dr. Ikwuka abandoned his duty post for a considerable length of time without permission and directed him to hand over government property in his possession to the new Clerk.

However, when the lawmakers came for the sitting, Dr. Ikwuka and his deputy, Mr. Walter Adogu, who was asked by government statement to report to the office of the Head of Service for redeployment, were with them.

At the lobby of the House, a mild drama took place when Mr. Onyenwuzor came out and someone told the members that he was the new Clerk. Some of the members shouted that he be arrested, but by the time they came out of the chambers after their sitting, he had escaped from the assembly complex.

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