Ondo crisis: Police give condition for reopening assembly complex

Thirteen members of the Ondo State House of Assembly sitting

The Ondo State Police Command has said that it will reopen the House of Assembly complex as soon as the warring factions resolve their differences.

A crisis in the house triggered by the controversial impeachment of the Speaker, Jumoke Akindele, and her deputy, Fatai Olotu, by 13 lawmakers led to the intervention of the police.

Despite being refused access to the chambers of the house by her opponents, Ms. Akindele and her principal officers still lay claim to the leadership of the house.

The aggrieved lawmakers led by Acting Speaker Malachi Coker had taken over the assembly insisting on the impeachment of Ms. Akindele and other principal officers.

The police finally closed the complexon Monday citing fears of insecurity and possible breakdown of law and order.

Mr. Coker had told journalists that the police officers who closed the complex said they were acting on the orders of the Inspector General of Police.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Femi Joseph, said on Wednesday that the assembly complex would be reopened as soon as both factions reached a truce.

“If by tomorrow they tell us that the matter has been laid to rest, we will have no choice but to open it,” he said.

“It is their property, it is the property of the government; all we are after is peace and that is why I said our action was based purely on security reason.”

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police has denied ordering the closure of the assembly complex, saying it was the responsibility of the state police commissioner, Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison, to take charge of operations within the state.

Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko  Photo Credit: Ondo State Government
Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko

Photo Credit: Ondo State Government

A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said the Commissioner of Police in Ondo State is in charge of all operations within the state and did not need to wait for an order from the inspector general to take actions relating to ensuring peace and security in the state.

Also, the Coker-led faction alleged that their lives were threatened by unknown persons, and that led them to relocate to Ibadan.

He told journalists in Ibadan that the threats were issued through phone calls to the lawmakers over the crisis rocking the assembly.

The removal of the Ms. Akindele as speaker has stalled the presentation of the state’s 2017 Appropriation Bill.

The governor, Olusegun Mimiko, who is backing the ousted leadership, had declared that the said impeachment was illegal.

Mr. Mimiko, after meeting Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday, however, said Ms. Akindele had indicated willingness to resign as speaker once the house resumes with her presiding.


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