Anambra Assembly Crisis: Police teargas lawmakers, journalists, workers

The police on Thursday used tear gas to disperse lawmakers, staff and supporters of various factions of the Anambra State House of Assembly as the crisis in the assembly entered day 3.

The House became factionalised on Tuesday with the controversial removal of the speaker, Rita Maduagwu, by about 20 of the 30 state lawmakers.

She was replaced by Ikemba Uzoezie.

But backed by some state officials, she later regained access into the chamber, on Tuesday and held a session with 11 members of the assembly.

She also described her removal as a “bundle of illegality” but Mr Uzoezie on Wednesday said her removal was irrevocable. He also denied that the removal was a plot targeted at the state governor, Willie Obiano.

Interestingly, both speakers adjourned the sitting of the house till today, Thursday.

But obviously in a bid to prevent outbreak of violence between both factions and their supporters, the police cordoned off the complex.

Over 300 armed police officeers, PREMIUM TIMES learnt, cordoned off the complex from the Alex Ekwueme Square entrance from 8 a.m.

This affected workers of the nearby judiciary complex. Others who had businesses in the area were also denied entrance.

Later, some lawmakers mobilised their supporters to the House, allegedly to show solidarity with Ms Maduagwu.

Police repelled the protesters with tear gas.

Consequently, the entire environment was filled with tear gas as police officers attempted to to ward off everybody in the area.

A member of the House, Beverly Nkemdiche, who was affected by the tear gas shouted and screamed on end, “They have killed me! I’m a member of the House. Please, don’t kill me…”

When the tear gas became too hot, journalists and other onlookers scampered for safety.

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