A renowned constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, has called on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, to resign for peace to reign in the legislature.
Ozekhome made the statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN while reacting to the invasion of the National Assembly by the police on Thursday.
NAN reports that security operatives barricaded the entrance to the assembly complex in an attempt to prevent Tambuwal access to the hallowed chamber, leading to a commotion and the fearing of tear gas.
According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, the undercurrent of the entire episode was that some lawmakers must have felt that the reconvening of the House would lead to Tambuwal’s impeachment by his opponents.
This, he said, could have informed their desperate attempt to get to the chambers by climbing the National Assembly gate and fence when it was closed against them to forestall the impending fracas.
Ozekhome added: “My advice is that Tambuwal should honourably and voluntarily resign as Speaker of the House of Representatives in order for peace to reign in the National Assembly.
“Having defected from the political party on which platform he got to the National Assembly and became the Speaker, he should stop his present grandstanding because he cannot have his cake and eat it.
“Whether the courts have declared his seat vacant or not, whether he has been impeached or not, and whether it is constitutional for him to do so or not, he owes a moral obligation to resign now.”
He stated that the Senate President, David Mark, did the right thing by suspending plenary till Tuesday next week so that the tension would calm down.
“The Senate President, by virtue of Section 53 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution, is the Chairman of the National Assembly and so is empowered to regulate the legislature which is bicameral.”
He condemned the action of lawmakers who climbed the fence to get into the premises of the National Assembly complex.
The senior advocate said that what those lawmakers did smacked of ‘indecency, indecorum and, above all, very shameful in the eyes of those who elected them and the international community.
It would be recalled that Senate President on Thursday announced the suspension of National Assembly plenaries until Tuesday, following the reconvening of House of Representatives.
The lower chamber reconvened on Thursday to discuss President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for the extension of the State of Emergency in the three North-East states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
It would be recalled that members of the House of Representatives were told to hold plenary session on November 19, 2014, to discuss thecontroversial issue of emergency rule extension in Nigeria’s three troubled states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.
But a report stated that the presidency has already taken its decision to move against the House of Assembly should the lawmakers fail to approve the extension of state of emergency in the country’s north-east due to rising insurgency.