Speaker of the Edo State House of Assemble, Uyi Igbe, has denied reports that lawmakers in the state hold their session at the office of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Igbe said the Assembly now meets at Old Legislative Chamber because of repair works going on at its official abode, Anthony Enahoro House.
The crisis in the Edo House of Assembly took a new twist on Monday morning when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers gained entry into the Anthony Enahoro Assembly Complex and held a plenary.
The lawmakers, which included the impeached Deputy Speaker, Festus Ebea, who acted as Speaker, and three suspended members, sat in front of the entrance to the chamber.
It was gathered that the lawmakers had converged at the Assembly complex as early as 7am, with a mace and a Sergeant at Arms, overheard exclaiming, “Mr. Speaker” repeatedly as the “House” rose.
Ebea, while briefing newsmen after the sitting of the four members, said the lawmakers had resolved that the renovation in the Assembly Complex was illegal.
He said, “It did not go through due process. It did not pass through my table, as the Chairman of the Committee on Tenders Board.”
He also stated that Igbe and other principal officers of the House, whom they had suspended, should be prevented from making withdrawals from the Assembly’s account.
Igbe, however, said that reports that they now meet in the Governor’s Office “are not only patently false and mischievous but another phase in what is now clearly a coordinated assault on the legislative branch in Edo State by desperate anti-democratic forces” whom he said want to “cast the legislative branch in bad light, thereby eroding its integrity in the eyes of the good people of Edo State.”
The rest of the statement reads: “As a temporary measure, the State Assembly has had to move its plenary to the old Chamber of the Legislature so that normal proceedings continue pending the completion of the repair of the Hallowed Chamber at the Anthony Enahoro House wilfully vandalised last week by suspended Honourable Festus Ebea and his cohorts aided and abetted by some unpatriotic policemen.
“They had forcibly broken in, in fragrant disobedience of a valid court order restraining them from the precinct of the Assembly.”
According to him, “sitting inside the old chamber in the past few days not only fills us with pride but also inspires in us a feeling of reunion with our past legislative heroes and heroines dating back to the Midwest, old Bendel State and later Edo State.
“We feel their illustrious spirits in this old chamber. So, it would not be an overstatement to, in fact, described the old chamber as the cradle of the legislative tradition in our dear state.
“Only the ignorant, only the mischief-makers would choose to ignore this historic fact.
“It is on record that this same old chamber was in use up till 1999 when the Peoples Democratic Party was in the majority in the House with a PDP Speaker presiding.”