EFCC Probe: Benue Lawmakers In War Of Words

File: Inside the Benue State House of Assembly
File: Inside the Benue State House of Assembly

Members of the Benue State House of Assembly engaged in a free-for-all on Tuesday during plenary over an alleged probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, into the purchase of cars for the lawmakers that reportedly gulped 750 million Naira.

Reports say the drama started when Kester Kyenge, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, member of the House, raised a point of order before the consideration of votes and proceedings of the previous sitting.

Speaker of the House, Terkimbi Ikyange, reportedly sensing something sinister in the motion, ruled Kyenge out of order.

But that decision did not go down well with the other PDP members in the assembly as they started calling for the removal of all principal officers of the House.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, legislators strongly resisted the move and a war of words ensued, almost degenerating to fisticuffs.

The Speaker reportedly invoked the relevant sections of the House Standing Rules by adjourning the assembly for thirty minutes, in the first instance, and later till Thursday July 21.

Later in an interview with journalists, Kyenge in company of his PDP colleagues, expressed concern that the Benue State government had failed to pay workers’ six months salaries, amidst rising insecurity in the state, and accused the Speaker of corruption.

The PDP members demanded the resignation of the principal officers in the House.

    The Speaker on his part said that contrary to the PDP lawmakers’ claims, 13 of them violated the law in the purchase of the cars which prompted the EFCC probe.

    Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, accused the PDP lawmakers of orchestrating a plot to set the state’s civil servants against the government.

    It would be recalled that the Benue State House Speaker, his deputy, James Ikefe and 12 other members were invited and detained for some days by the EFCC in June for allegedly misappropriating N750 million meant for the purchase of official cars.

    Governor Ortom had commended the questioning of the legislators saying he would not condone criminality or defend anyone who had a hand in fraud.

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