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Impeachment: Anambra Assembly in turmoil as policemen teargas lawmaker, others

The Anambra State House of Assembly, on Wednesday, witnessed violence as policemen blocked the entrance to the premises and also sprayed teargas into the air.

This is the first time the lawmakers were sitting after the purported impeachment of Speaker of the House, Rita Maduagwu.

No fewer than 300 policemen manned the Assembly area from the Alex Ekwueme Square entrance of the complex as from 8am.

Workers of the judiciary and others who had any business in the area were denied entrance.

Trouble began when a lawmaker mobilised some supposed supporters to the House, allegedly to show solidarity for Maduagwu.

Police, however, repelled the protesters with tear gas.

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

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

Journalists and other onlookers scampered for safety.

Meanwhile, journalists were not allowed to gain entrance to the House of Assembly complex not to talk of covering the sitting as usual.

Few hours later, the member representing Aguata II State Constituency and the new speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikemefune Uzoezie, came outside with some members to address the journalists.

He said he has assumed duty as the authentic Speaker of the Assembly with 25 members by his side.

Uzoezie, who was elected last Tuesday by 22 members after impeaching the former Speaker, Rita Maduagwu, was not sworn-in same day.

But interacting with the media after their alleged sitting, Uzoezie condemned actions of the police, who did not allow the journalists access to the complex to cover their sittings.

He was flanked by fifteen Assembly members including the Deputy Speaker, Harford Oseke; the Majority Leader, Jideofor Okoye; Minority Leader, Onyebuchi Offor; Benson Nwawulu of Ogbaru I and others.

According to him, there were no faction in the 6th Assembly as the clerk, staff of the assembly and others were in attendance during their sittings.

He said they adjourned to Tuesday next week, and commended Anambra residents for their support, assuring that they will continue to do those things they were elected to do as lawmakers.

Uzoezie commended Governor Willie Obiano for safe trip to and fro France, hoping that his visit would impact positively on them.

“The mace, clerk and everything including the staff were in during the sittings,” he maintained, adding that the house is functioning.

He also dismissed the reports that himself, Majority Leader, Jideofor Okoye; and Deputy Speaker, Harford Oseke were suspended by the APGA, saying that he was yet to be briefed.

The Daily Times learnt that the embattled Speaker of the Assembly, Rita Maduagwu; and those in her faction were in the premises during the sittings.

However, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) suspended the factional speaker, Ikem Uzoezie, Deputy Speaker, Hartford Oseke and the Majority Leader, Jideofor Okoye, for their alleged participation in Hon Rita Maduagwu’s impeachment as Speaker of the House of Assembly.

Speaking with newsmen in Awka, the chairman of APGA Anambra State, Nobert Obi expressed disappointment in the conduct of the suspended members, saying the party has set up disciplinary committee to investigate their grievances in the bid to restore peace the house has been enjoying since the inception of the 6th House of Assembly.

The party also enjoined the members to explore the party’s provision to ventilate their grievances, noting the party would ensure peace is returned to the state House of Assembly.

Obi, however, maintained that APGA was not the only party in crisis but that all hands must be on deck to ensure internal democracy and fair play in the party.

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