There seems to be no respite for the embattled Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, as 13 members of the state House of Assembly, have dragged him and the G5 legislators along with the Minister of Finance before a Federal High Court in Lokoja over the 2016 appropriation bill.
The legislators in their originating summons asked the court to nullify the purported passage of the 2016 appropriation bill earlier assented to by the governor.
The suit, no: FHC/ LKJ/CS/31/16, filled by the newly reinstated Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Momoh Jimoh and 12 others, against Hon. Umar Ahmed Imam and 15 other respondents, also asked the court to declare the governor’s assent to the 2016 appropriation bill illegal and a fraudulent.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, S. I. Ibrahim Esq; who filed the suit on May 17, 2016, sought on behalf of his clients, a determination as to whether, “Having regard to the exercise of the Power of the National Assembly taking over the functions of the state House of Assembly pursuant to section 11 (4) of the Constitution, the Kogi State House of Assembly could carry on any legislative duty and grant approval for accessing bailout funds or exercise any legislative powers, however, described during the pendency of the said National Assembly resolution.”
The lawmakers further sought the relief of the honorable court to declare that only the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can legitimately legislate for Kogi State House of Assembly pursuant to the takeover order on March 16, 2016. Among other reliefs, is a declaration by the court that the Kogi State House of Assembly Appropriation Law 2016 is illegal, null and void having been passed in violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Hearing of the case comes up June 21, 2016.
Meanwhile, there was a mild drama at the main gate of Kogi State House of Assembly yesterday, when security men allegedly locked the Assembly’s main gate to gag the G15 members, including the newly reinstated Speaker, Alhaji Momoh Jimoh Lawal, from resuming at the Assembly after a protracted crisis that rocked the House in the last few months.
The G15 members had arrived at the Assembly complex about 10am to commence the plenary session, but found the gate under lock and key.
After much altercation between them and the security agents at the gate, the main gate and chamber’s doors were forced open to enable them sit for the day.
The security agents also attempted to prevent the Assembly members from sitting, but the lawmakers shouted; “kill us now, kill us now, kill us now,” continually and moved towards the hallow chamber where they sat and conducted their duties.
It was gathered that the Assembly staff, who had earlier reported for work, were instructed to leave when they got information that the G15 members of the Assembly were on their way to the Assembly.
Sources said the Chief of Staff to Alfa Imman, the sacked speaker, had instructed the workers to close down the complex and go into hiding.
At the plenary session yesterday, the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr. Sunday Shigaba, moved a motion lifting the purported suspension of 10 members by the G5 and also called for the extension of hands of fellowship to the remaining members on the other side of the divide and was seconded by Hon. Omofaye representing Ijumu constituency.