Police seal off Akwa Ibom House of Assembly

Nigerian police force
Nigerian police force used to illustrate the story

The police in Akwa Ibom State have sealed off the premises of the state’s House of Assembly.

The reason for the police’s action is still unclear.

When a PREMIUM TIMES reporter visited the vicinity of the assembly complex at Udo Udoma Avenue on Wednesday morning, police trucks were seen barricading the road leading to the building.

Other police trucks were stationed in front of the entrance to the assembly complex.

Several anti-riot police officers were seen on the already deserted road.

“Sorry, there’s no thoroughfare; nobody is allowed to drive or walk through this road,” one of the police officers barricading the road told this reporter.

Angry youth, who are members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), stormed the assembly complex on Monday morning protesting the sacking of a lawmaker, Idongesit Ituen.

Mr Ituen, who represented the Itu State Constituency, was sacked by a federal high court for defecting from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.

The House had its sitting as scheduled on Monday, despite the protest.

The speaker, Onofiok Luke, went on to declare vacant the seats of four more lawmakers who had also defected from PDP to APC.

The sacked lawmakers, five of them, in turn, held their own sitting where they ‘removed’ the speaker, Mr Luke, and “elected” one of them, Nse Ntuen (Essien Udim State Constituency) as the “new speaker”.

The police have not given reasons why the state assembly had been sealed off.

The police spokesperson in the state, Odiko MacDon, did not respond to calls and text message from PREMIUM TIMES at the time of filing this report.

The speaker, Mr Luke, has not received any communication from the police on why the assembly has been sealed off, the spokesperson to the speaker, Kufre Okon, told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday morning.

Mr Okon said the police officers barricading all the entrances to assembly complex prevented the assembly staffers from going into the complex.

He said aides to some of the lawmakers were also harassed by the officers.

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