Plateau Assembly crisis: Speaker, 11 members arrested, Released


Embattled Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, Nuhu Ayuba Abok and 11 other members of the House, were yesterday whisked away from the Assembly Complex by security operatives.

They were later released after some hours. One of the member confirmed to journalists that they were dropped off at “a certain location” within the Jos metropolis.

The security team led by the Commissioner of Police, Edward Ebuka and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Commandant, Alexander Barunde had profiled the lawmakers before leading them into police vehicles.

Those whisked away were minority leader, Peter Gyendeng; deputy minority leader, Philip Dasun; Dalyop Fom;  Daniel Nanbolistic;  Pirglfa Tyem; Sochang Zintim; Musa Aga;  Bala Fwangji and Henry Longs.

Last week, six members of the House had allegedly impeached Abok and replaced him with Yakubu Sanda while 14 members of the House reconvened and suspended the  new speaker with the six members. They also declared Abok as authentic speaker.

However, residents of Plateau, woke up yesterday to be greeted with news of pandemonium at the Assembly, as Abok and lawmakers loyal to him had entered the complex and held an executive session in his office preparatory for a sitting. As this was going on, some youths staged a protest in front of the Assembly complex in support of Abok.

Ebuka, the police boss, told journalists after picking up the lawmakers that that they were going to another venue to continue with discussions they started in the speaker’s office. The police officer said the lawmakers were not under arrest and assured of their safety. He said they would address the press when the discussions were concluded.

The embattled speaker said he would also address journalists at the end of the meeting.

The youths who were protesting in front of the complex in his support were later dispersed with tear-gas by security personnel.

Report said Governor Lalong had intervened in the crisis by requesting both Abok and Sanda to step down for the House to elect a new leader.

Abok and members behind him have, however, resisted plots to have him vacate the position saying the governor had no right to interfere in matters affecting the House.

Following the arrest of Abok and his loyalists, the new Speaker, Sanda, reconvened with 11 members.

“We had a sitting last week where Abok was impeach by 16 out of 24 members of the House.

“Thirteen members were present during the sitting contrary to the stories going round that we were six while three members signed the impeachment notice to get the require two-third majority. The former Speaker, Nuhu Abok, has congratulated me and I want to inform Plateau people that I am the new Speaker.”

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