by DENNIS AGBO

…faction suspends Speaker

A major crisis hit Enugu State House of Assembly in the wee hours of yesterday as the House split into two factions.enugu

One of the factions made up of a group of 14 members led by Speaker, Eugene Odoh, first sat at 6am, suspended three members and served impeachment notice on Governor Sullivan Chime.

The second group of nine members sat almost immediately after at 7am and suspended the Speaker and six other members of the House.

The Speaker-led group slammed Governor Chime with what they alleged was gross misconduct, and commenced impeachment proceedings against him. They also accused the governor of forging the N12bn 2012 supplementary budget.

The impeachment notice was signed by 14 members of the House, including the Speaker, while Clerk of the House, Christopher Chukwurah, was directed to serve the notice on the governor immediately.

The three members suspended by the Speaker’s group for alleged anti- House activities include the Deputy Speaker, Chime Oji, who was recently elected to represent Enugu North/ South Federal Constituency; Hon. Emeka Ogbuabor and Deputy House Leader, John Kelvin Ukwuta.

The Speaker and 13 other members found their way into the legislative chamber at 6:28am and held sitting after the police had prevented them from gaining entry into the House. Following complaints by the Speaker, the policemen were ordered to allow them into the House.

The lawmakers had complained that the governor was using some members of the House to disrupt its activities because they refused to approve the N11 billion loan requested by the governor.

The mace was taken away after the sitting of the House. About 7am, the group of nine members led by Deputy Speaker and six others of the House, including Deputy Governor-elect, Hon. Cecilia Ezeilo, walked into the chamber with another mace and conducted another sitting.

One other member later joined them. After a short prayer, Hon. Ukwuta, who was also suspended by the Odoled group, moved a motion that Hon. Johnbull Nwagu, who was suspended by the House, should be recalled, and Hon. Chinedu Nwamba seconded the motion.

They lifted the earlier suspension on Nwagu, who was accused of misconduct and invited him to join the group, bringing their number to nine. Hon. Ukwuta thereafter moved another motion calling for the suspension of Speaker Odoh and seven other members in his group, including Anichukwu Nwankwo, Okechukwu Nwoke, Paul Ogbe, Nze Michael Onyeze, Chika Eneh, Theresa Egbo and S.K.E. Udo-Okoye.

The motion was approved by the nine members. Principal officers among those suspended were also stripped of their positions and benefits.

Ukwuta further moved for the nomination of other colleagues to fill the vacancies created by the suspension and nominated Chinedu Nwamba, representing Nsukka East constituency, to be sworn in as Speaker of the House.

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