The Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Otelemaba Amachree spoke to reporters shortly after the mayhem at the Assembly on Tuesday, saying the conduct of the police while the House burnt was less than professional.
Even up to the time you were spirited out of the Assembly, Evans Bipi still said he is the authentic speaker of the Assembly. What is your comment?
As far as this House is concerned, the leadership of the House has not changed. I am the Speaker of Rivers State House of assembly and all the other officers and the clerk are here with me. The leadership of the House is intact and what Evans Bipi told you is pure fallacy, lie.
What will happen to those lawmakers who orchestrated your impeachment?
When we get to the bridge, we will know how to cross it. But every member knows that we have rules and regulations that guide us in our conduct. I will not say anything yet but the leadership and members of the House will meet and decide on that.
There is this speculation that the lawmakers who attempted to impeach you are actually preparing the grounds for the impeachment of the Governor. To what extent is this true?
I don’t know where this rumour is coming from, but we just finished our sitting. There was no attempt as far as we are concerned to impeach me or anybody. We are even shocked to hear that in the news. It is not true. Look at us; can five members sit to impeach the speaker? We are about 27 members here. We don’t know what their aims were but today, in fact, we did not know there would be chaos in the House. So, we went to the House as usual and we were exchanging pleasantries before Evans Bipi attacked me and the leader of the House. Then Hon. Chinda joined him. But we quickly arrested the situation and started our deliberation.
There are allegations that Governor Amaechi came to the House and attacked members of the House. Is that true?
How? How can. The governor was never in the Assembly. What happened was that the deputy Governor came to the House to present some minor amendments (viament) in 2013 Budget. If you watch our proceedings you will see the deputy governor and not the governor. So, the governor was not there.
Well, it is not compulsory that every member must be present in our sitting everyday, but some obtained permission like the former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry who is in Paris, France for a conference. Three others that did not attend sitting today, but they also obtained permission. There was a kind chaos before we sat today.
What is the role of the police in al of this?
Am so surprised and shocked because yesterday I officially directed the clerk of the House to the Commissioner of Police for security because of what happened on the 6th of May when some hoodlums invaded the Assembly. We didn’t want a repeat of that, so I directed the Clerk to write to the CP and also the Brigade Commander, but to my greatest surprise I did not see one single army there (Assembly). The police I saw were acting funny. One of my colleagues was even beaten by the police. The computers in the hallowed chambers were all destroyed by the five honourable members (lawmakers).
In that hallowed chamber, honourable members can do anything there. It happens in every parliament. What we are concerned about is for a member to bring in hoodlums to attack his fellow members, but as colleagues we can fight in the chamber. But outside the chamber, it is unfortunate that the police will also be there and watching hoodlums attacking members. As a House, we would look into it, but we don’t have right over the Police. What we will do is that we will write to the National Assembly.
We will do a presentation or we will send a formal complaint to the NASS. The House will continue to seat, but for now we have adjourned sine die, but we can reconvene anytime. For the House to impeach the speaker, two third of members must agree. Now, count how many members that are with me here. We are 23 members here, you can count us. No mace was brought into the House.
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