Update: Nasarawa Assembly shut indefinitely following attack on lawmakers

Irate youth pelted the vehicles of the lawmakers with stones.

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly has been shut down indefinitely following the attack on the lawmakers on Tuesday evening by irate youth.

The closure was announced at a press conference by the Speaker, Musa Mohammed, in Lafia in the presence of the state Commissioner of Police, Shehu Umar.

Mr. Mohammed said the Assembly had earlier alerted security agencies in the state of the impending attack; and yet the youth found their way into the state assembly.

The speaker said the house would no longer sit until the security of the members is guaranteed.

On his part, the police boss said the police is trying to calm the situation and would ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.

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The invasion

Hundreds of youth had stormed the Assembly on Tuesday throwing stones and other weapons at the lawmakers after the state governor, Tanko Al-Makura, appeared before the lawmakers following his summon.

The youth displayed their anger over the invitation of Mr. Al-Makura by the Assembly to explain the executive’s non-implementation of the lawmakers’ resolutions.

The youth, who trooped to the Assembly in hundreds, waited outside the Assembly premises until the lawmakers adjourned for the day and let the governor go. They defied security officials and pelted the lawmakers’ vehicles with stones and other materials.

The youth also defied the state governor who tried to pacify them.

Security officials had to fire tear-gas to disperse the protesters.

Mr. Al-Makura is a member of the All Progressives Congress while the Assembly is dominated by members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in an increasingly political crisis.

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The Nasarawa PDP had warned of retaliation should the lawmakers be attacked.

In a statement, the Nasarawa PDP chairman, Yunana Iliya, said nobody has the monopoly of violence.

AL-Makura addresses lawmakers

Before the fracas, Mr. Al-Makura had answered lawmakers’ questions on the floor of the Assembly.

Mr. Al-Makura, who was ushered into the Assembly chambers by the Sergeant at Arms around 3:27 p.m., told the lawmakers that although their resolutions are advisory, his administration had been doing its best to ensure that the Assembly’s orders are respected.

“When the house make a resolution, it will want such resolutions respected; but from my understanding with due respect it is at the discretion of the governor,” he said.

On the state’s transport fleet, Nasarawa Express, the governor admitted closing the agencies but argued that the Assembly has no powers be involved in the daily operations of the agencies; although it has the right to investigate the alleged misconduct in the agency and any other government establishment.

In his statement, the Chairman of the Information Committee of the Assembly, Baba Ibaku, said the sack of the staff of the transport fleet is not in line with the law establishing the agency which states that “that any staff to be relieved must be given some days in lieu of notice based on the grade level of such officer.”

Also, explaining the suspension of the management of the Nasarawa State University, Mr. Al-Makura said it was to give way for proper restructuring of the institution adding that the suspended officials were still being paid their salaries and allowances at as when due.

He said he acted based on evidence of fraud against the management. He said the executive would act within 24 hours whenever a case of fraud is established against any government agency.

He added that as the visitor of the institution, he has the powers to take over the responsibility of the governing council when the council is not in place; urging the lawmakers to give him kudos on his action in the university rather than crucify him.

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