The crises rocking the Edo State House of Assembly took a new dimension yesterday when members of the two factions went into a fresh physical fight. According to eye witness account, the People’s Democratic Party faction, led by the deputy speaker, whose group swore in on Tuesday allegedly arrived the Assembly at 6 am with a fake mace and a fake at Arms.
They were about to begin plenary sitting when the All Progressives Congress faction, led by the substantive speaker arrived and a hot fight ensued.
The fight was only resolved when men of the Nigeria Police, led by CP Sola Adebanjo arrived to stop the scuffle. Eye witness account stated that Emmanuel Okoduwa, representing Esan North East was injured and his clothes torn.
The matter was later resolved and the two factions sat at a peace meeting with the CP. The meeting which lasted all day ended at about 5.30 pm, and the legislators tried to commence sitting.
But another drama started with Hon Festus Ebea refusing to recognize Hon Uyi Igbe as the Speaker of the House. When the Sergeant at Arms came in with the mace, the four suspended members who stepped out entered the Assembly, while Ebea insisted that Igbe must step down from the speaker’s seat, or another seat must be placed by his side. The mace was removed following the tense atmosphere.
For over one hour, members kept pleading with Ebea who later agreed very reluctantly and sat down.
The mace was returned before sitting commenced. The speaker quickly read out a court injunction restraining the suspended members from attending plenary sittings. Part of the order read:
A Benin High Court has restrained the four lawmakers suspended on Monday by the Edo State House of Assembly from gaining entrance into the premises of the Assembly and the legislative quarters.
The suspended lawmakers are Hon Festus Ebea, Hon Patrick Osayimwen, Hon Jude Ise-Idehen and Hon Friday Ogieriakhi.
The court also restrained the suspended lawmakers, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 5, Benin City and the Commissioner of Police, Edo State from interfering with the Sitting activities and other functions of the state Assembly pending the determination of a motion on Notice before it.
He concluded saying: “the suspended members are not supposed to be with us”. After waiting for a while, Igbe said that since they have refused to leave, the sitting would be adjourned till Monday, 16th June, bringing sitting to an abrupt end.
It will be recalled that the legislators had also fought yesterday following the hurried selection of a new speaker, in the person of Festus Ebea, the deputy speaker, who was suspended with some other members on Monday.