After the NATIONAL DRAMA, about 130 members of the House of Representatives have signed an impeachment notice register launching a battle to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan in response to what they claim is his growing executive impunity.
On Thursday, soldiers and policemen sealed off the National Assembly complex preventing members of the House of Representatives from gaining entry into the premises. This was in response to the recent defection of the speaker of the House, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
This was the latest in s string of spats between the speaker and the presidency since he defection as very shortly after he left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), his security detail was removed. On Thursday, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal asked his colleagues to consider the barricade of the National Assembly by the police and security agents as part of the price to pay for a sustainable democracy.
Despite several legislators having to clamber over the gates to get into the National Assembly complex, the House, refused to table a motion on the impunity of the police to avoid the situation degenerating into a major crisis. Most parliamentarians were visibly angry at the invasion which was ordered by the presidency.
They alleged that President Jonathan met secretly on Wednesday night with Senate President David Mark and Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha on the shape of Thursday’s House sitting. Alleging executive recklessness, interference and abuse of police, the members opted to collate signatures for an impeachment notice against President Jonathan.
One principal officer of the House said: “With how the police and security agents molested members of the House of Representatives, President Goodluck Jonathan has lost our goodwill. We have resolved to stop this impunity in the land.”
Another House member, who signed the register, said: “This time around, it is going to be battle to the finish. Going by the principle of Separation of Powers, the police and security agents have no business barricading or occupying the National Assembly.
“The executive arm is misusing the police and security agencies and we will no longer tolerate this. In a democracy, the legislature is a sacred place, so why will hooded security agents invade the National Assembly to the extent that members were forced to be jumping the fence to enter the complex.”
Under the constitution, the House requires signatures of one-third of the members of the National Assembly to serve impeachment notice on the president. Senators are believed to be in league with members of the House to move against President Jonathan.
One Senator said: “From the way we are going, the siege on the National Assembly might be the beginning of more clampdown on the lawmakers. The closure of the assembly by the chairman, Senate President David Mark suggested that anarchy was imminent.
“We will not sit by in the House and watch the political environment polluted and our hard-earned democracy turned into diarchy. The only condition for peace is for Jonathan to retrace his steps by respecting the principle of separation of powers and call both the police and security agencies to order.”
House member said the Police Affairs Committee was mandated to invite the Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, to explain why representatives were attacked, tear-gassed and molested on thursday. One other source added that the House may also reject the president’s 2015 Appropriation Bill as a result of the action.