Wednesday 20 May 2015

Niger lawmakers allegedly get N17million each to stop Gov. Aliyu Babangida's impeachment

The impeachment plot against the Niger State Governor, Aliyu Babangida, may have been stalled as the members of the state House of Assembly pushing for the governor’s removal have been paid N17m each.

It was gathered that the lawmakers after receiving the N17m each were also promised by the state government that their other demands would soon be met.

Consequently, the lawmakers have decided to stop the impeachment move against the governor.

Though the Speaker, state House of Assembly, Isah Kawu, refused to comment on the issue when Punch sought his reaction to the development, sources at the assembly complex including lawmakers, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development.

The speaker, who spoke to Punch on the telephone said, “I cannot speak on this issue on the telephone or anywhere on the matter.”

But one of the lawmakers confirmed this.

He said, “It was not as if the governor bribed us, it is our legal entitlements and we have a right to ask for it before the expiration of our tenure. We have been paid and calm has returned to the assembly complex.”
Asked whether it was true that the lawmakers had dropped the impeachment plot against the governor, the lawmaker said, “there is no need for it again.”

Another source in the state House of Assembly Complex told Punch that each of the lawmakers was paid N17m as part of the allowances they were being owed since February.

This development, the source, who is a worker in the assembly complex said, had brought calm to the House of Assembly complex as the state police command had withdrawn security operatives from the building. This, he added, had given the lawmakers free access into their offices.

It will be recalled that last week, the lawmakers had sacked the leadership of the assembly and elected a new leadership over a series of allegations including non-implementation of house resolutions, poor staff and members’ welfare and non-release of the statutory allocation to the assembly for months. This, it was learnt, was done to pave the way for the removal of the governor.

To frustrate the lawmakers, the governor had headed for the court where he secured an order to restrain the legislators from making any move to impeach him.

The governor had gone to the court after the peace meeting between him(Aliyu) and the newly elected principal officers of the House failed.

The House of Assembly was also occupied by security operatives for so many days to prevent the members from entering into the assembly complex to carry out their legislative duties.

Due to this, Kawu had threatened to institute a legal action against the Niger State Police Commissioner, Mr. Emmanuel Amore, over what he described as the illegal occupation of the state House of Assembly by security operatives.

Credit: Enyioha Opara/Punch

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