Benue House crisis deepens, Speaker Ikyange faces impeachment

By: Sandra Inalegwu

Eighteen members of the Benue State House of Assembly (BNHA) have agreed to impeach Terkimbi Ikyange, the Speaker of the House, while 12 of them including the Speaker are in opposition.
The move is coming at the heels of an alleged misappropriation of N750 million by the Speaker, his deputy and several others.It was gathered that 18 lawmakers that are disposed to removing the Speaker were however not among the 12 that hurriedly put together a sitting that read five bills on the floor of the assembly on Tuesday.

They later took off for Abuja to keep a date with the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) after sitting for barely 15 minutes.

Shortly before the sitting several truckload of security men were deployed to the Assembly to ward off any of the dissident lawmakers should they try to disrupt the sitting.

Linknaija.com reliably gathered that following the move to impeach Ikyange, Governor Samuel Ortom and George Akume and the immediate past Senate Minority Leader, have met with some of the All Progressives Party (APC) lawmakers to dissuade them from embarking on the venture.

The fear is that if the Speaker is impeached and other principal leaders of the house removed, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might have an upper hand in taking over the leadership of the house.

Fifteen of the lawmakers in the Benue Assembly are of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); 14 are of the APC, while one of the lawmakers is of the Labour Party (LP). Even so, the LP candidate may likely support the PDP should the impeachment commence.

The PDP member favoured to pick either Hon Kester Ikyenge or Hon Terkura Ucha, while those in the APC favoured to be speaker should Ikyange be removed are Hon Ngunan Addingi or Hon Titus Uba.

Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, who described the allegations as unfounded noted that the governor is not part of the Assembly” and that the state Assembly is an independent body so the governor cannot force the Assembly” to make decisions that affect it.

The CPS further stated, “Ortom has always said that he cannot interfere with the functions of the assembly because it (decision to impeach speaker) falls within their (lawmakers) purview” because he (Ortom) has respect for the separation of powers and cannot interfere in the activities of the assembly.

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