March 4, 2009

exchange of blows in ogun state house of assembly

It was a riotous session on Tuesday in the Ogun State House of Assembly as members disagreed on the suspension of two of its members leading to exchange of blows. The suspension came even as the Clerk of the House, Barrister Demola Badejo said that a State High Court had given an injunction that no member of the House should be suspended.

The 26-House members resumed plenary session after a one-month recess.Trouble started when the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Remi Hassan from the Odogbolu State Constituency moved the motion that Hon. Omosanya Solaja from the Ikenne Constituency should be suspended.

Solaja was alleged to have granted an interview in a television programme during which he allegedly cast aspersion on the leadership of the House, thereby running foul of certain Orders of the Legislative House.

Another member, Hon. Titi Oseni who was said to have instituted a legal action against the leadership of the House was also booked for suspension under the General Order 38 of the House.
This motion which was allowed by the Speaker, Hon. Egbetokun to be debated by members of the House did not particularly go down well with the G.11 members who saw the moves by the G.15 as victimization of its members.

For about 45 minutes, the House was literally a “Fuji House of Commotion,” with members of the G.11 led by the former Speaker, Hon. Titi Oseni and Hon. Oluseyi Moses shouting on top of their voices at the Speaker. Other membersand security agents which included the police and the operatives of the SSS watched helplessly as the verbal assault raged.
The charged atmosphere soon degenerated into members throwing missiles at one another. Some members of the G.11 and their counterparts in G.15 were seen pursuing themselves within the supposed hallowed chambers ostensibly to exchange blows.

At about 11.53 a.m. the official symbol of the House, the Mace which was about to be snatched by members of the G.11 was hurriedly removed from its original position (in front of the Clerk of the House) and put under the table of the Speaker. Still perceiving that the Mace was not secured enough under his table, the Speaker gave it to one of his aides who held on to the Mace firmly for about 45 minutes.
Attempts by the Speaker to bring the House to order failed with members of the G.11 rebuffing his pleas to return to their respective seats after holding the House to ransom with uncomplimentary remarks about the persons of the Speaker and his leadership.

At about 12.25 p.m. after several unsuccessful attempts by the Speaker to cool the frayed nerves of members of the G.11, the Mace was hurriedly placed in front of the Speaker who invoked Order 38 asking members who supported the suspension of the two members to say ‘yes’.

Although members of the G.15 supported the motion, the dissenting shouts of “No. No. No. from the G.11 rent the hallowed chambers. They described the suspension as illegal because the subject matter had not been thoroughly discussed on the floor of the House. They shouted at the Speaker asking him to suspend all of them (G.11)
Former Speaker, Hon. Titi Oseni while addressing the press confirmed that it was a rowdy session in the House. “It was a rowdy session today at the House. It is quite unfortunate. We have never witnessed this kind of thing in this House.”

Another member of the G.11, Hon. Ayo Odugbesan said the suspension could not hold because the House did not discuss the suspension. Citing various sections of the Orders of the House, he described the action as wrong and unconstitutional for the Speaker to announce the suspension when actually he did not follow the rules and orders of the House.

But Speaker Egbetokun while addressing the press at the Committee Room said the rules and regulations of the House were followed in the indefinite suspension of the two erring members.
His words: “The rules and regulations were not breached. The G.11 wanted to hold us to ransom, but we succeeded in placing the Mace and we succeeded in suspending two of our members indefinitely.”
Egbetokun who noted that the House had not known peace since his predecessor, Hon. Oseni was suspended last May 15 said “the crisis in the House is about oversight function and nothing more.”
Security within and around the House was tight with the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Dipo Ayeni personally leading his men to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order while the operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) were also effectively in charge.

The Speaker and his deputy were not spared in the search by the security officials who wore stern looks.
Journalists, were thoroughly frisked down to their pants before SSS officials allowed them into the hallowed chamber.

One of the suspended members, Hon. Solaja before his suspension condemned the manner the search was done which he likened to what happened at the defunct Western Region House between 1965 and 1965.
Armoured Tank, with number plate NPF 2360 AC and several other security vehicles were stationed around the Assembly complex with a detachment of both the regular and anti-riot policemen taking strategic positions.

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