Violence erupted in the Rivers State House of Assembly on Tuesday.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the attempt by five Rivers State House of Assembly lawmakers to impeach the Speaker of the Assembly, Otelemaba Amachree.
Violence erupted in the Assembly chambers when five of the Assembly’s 32 lawmakers tried to impeach the speaker. The five are believed to have the backing of the presidency while the majority 27 members including the speaker are loyal to Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who has been having a running battle with the presidency and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
President Goodluck Jonathan recently met with the Rivers PDP leaders who are opposed to Mr. Amaechi. The leaders pledged their loyalty and support to Mr. Jonathan.
Mr. Abubakar warned against the consequences of going outside the constitution to oust elected leaders.
In a statement by his media office in Abuja on Tuesday, the former vice president said the constitution of Nigeria was not written on sand so that anybody could breach it as he or she pleases to achieve private motives rather than the public interest.
He said any disregard for the sanctity of the constitution or due process in the removal of elected public office holders would seriously harm our democratic order. He explained that the constitution is superior to any individual and that any efforts to apply barbaric tactics to remove leaders should not be condoned by anybody.
The former Vice President regretted that the failure to punish similar crude attempts in the past had encouraged impunity among those seeking to impeach elected leaders by means other than that enshrined in the constitution.
“It is sad that those who are seeking to subvert our nascent democracy are some of those who never fought for what many laid down their lives for. These persons are advised to take heed to the festering crisis in Egypt following a forced change of leadership in that country,” Mr. Abubakar said.
“We can either dismiss what happened today in Port Harcourt as one more incident in the long line of impunity and constitution abuse, or we speak very strongly against it, sending thereby an unambiguous message to the powers-that-be that sweat and blood of fathers, mothers and children, which were used to nurture the tree of our democracy, must not go in vain,”
Also, a Rivers Senator, Magnus Abe (PDP-Rivers South-East), on Tuesday criticised the attack on Mr. Amachree and the state assembly’s leader, Chidi Lloyd.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt, the Senator described the attack as a shame and a slap on democracy.
The Speaker and leader were attacked by thugs on July 9, as they arrived at the Assembly for the day’s sitting.
The Senator urged lovers of democracy and Nigerians to criticise the act and resist moves by “those under demonic oath to make the state ungovernable’’.
Mr. Abe, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), said that it was unfortunate that democratic institutions and those elected to make laws could not be protected.
The Senator said that plans to throw the state into anarchy would not succeed.
He urged Rivers people to stand by Governor Amaechi whom, he said, was being persecuted for defending the state.
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