A faction of the Ondo State House of Assembly, loyal to the newly elected speaker, Olamide George, has called for the arrest of the Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Jacob Adebo, for allegedly leading his union members to attack lawmakers at the chambers on November 9.
Crises erupted in the assembly following the move by 18 of the 26 members of the house to remove the speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun.
Newsmen reported how members of the NURTW broke into the assembly chambers on November 9, purportedly to stop the removal of the speaker and his deputy.
Lawmakers were assaulted by the hoodlums who beat up every person they met and damaged some vehicles belonging to the members.
The invasion of the assembly was reportedly done while the police and other security watched without any attempt to prevent them.
Although the police denied the allegation that it allowed the lawmakers to be beaten up, the lawmakers insisted that the police were accomplices in the attack.
The group of lawmakers, led by Olamide George, who was elected speaker shortly after the impeachment process, is still at war with the minority group led by Oleyelogun, who enjoys the support and backing of both the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and the police command in the state.
Curiously, 16 of the 26 lawmakers who carried out the impeachment have not been present at the assembly for fear of further attacks, while Oleyelogun is currently presiding over a house of nine members.
The lawmakers are now demanding the arrest of Adebo, popularly called Idajo, and six other leaders of the NURTW.
In a statement on Saturday, signed by George and other members, the lawmakers also called on the police to provide security for them to carry out their lawful duties at the assembly.
“There is injustice in the land, intimidation is ravaging the entire space, Ondo State is crying for help. The heroes of yesterday are now termed cowards, the oppressors have taken over, we are marked men and a woman scampering for safety everywhere as our case is synonymous to the hunter becoming the hunted,” the statement read.
“You will recall that the legislature of the state has been in the news recently when a constitutionally required 18-member signed impeachment notice was presented and passed against the Rt Hon Oleyeloogun and Rt Hon Iroju Ogundeji, the erstwhile Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.
“You will recall also that after the impeachment of the old, the election and swearing in of Rt Hon Olamide George as the new speaker and Rt Hon Abimbola Fajolu as deputy speaker, the men and officers of the Nigeria Police of the State led by the Commissioner of Police, Gbenga Adeyanju had stormed the Speaker’s office to “maintain” a law and order that was never in danger of being breached.
“Recall further that shortly after the police showed up, the entire House premises was invaded by thugs and miscreants numbering over two hundred who were led by one Jacob Adebo a.k.a. Idajo, the Chairman of the Ondo State Chapter of the NURTW who is a close ally and chief enforcer of the governor of the state.
“These thugs visited an unimaginable violence and mayhem on the members and staff alike, wounding many and destroying many properties under the watchful eyes and direct supervision of the Commissioner of Police and his men. Curiously, the CP did not lift a finger to help and made no efforts to stop the thugs or to arrest the situation or anyone.
“Consequently, the thugs roamed free from that day till now and in spite of a comprehensive petition written to the office of the Inspector General of Police and copied to the President, the NASS, etc., Idajo and his men have not been apprehended and no efforts have been made to address and redress this wanton desecration of the hallowed democratic institution of the legislature and the infliction of grievous injuries on some members ,staff and even journalists who were merely going about their duties of news coverage .
“In a curious twist of an already macabre story, the police have taken to hounding, witch hunting and intimidating the members who participated in the impeachment based on a frivolous allegation of forgery made against them by their turncoat allies, Hon Olajide Sunday and Hon Sola Oluyede.
“It is noteworthy that the members had taken their case to the Vice-President who had asked Gov Fayemi Kayode to step in and resolve the impasse that had ensued between the Governor-backed minority of nine (9) men and the sixteen (16) men who were dissatisfied with the then status quo. It is instructive that at the meeting with the Vice President, it was proved beyond any doubt (by their express admission) that the forgery crying duo did sign the petition and merely lied to protect their return tickets granted them by Governor.”
The group said although there was no forgery, the Nigeria Police had been intimidating the lawmakers, by inviting them to come and answer for a case of forgery.
“Letters of Invitation were issued against us, brought by the Police (who were escorted by the Impeached Speaker’s men) and deposited in our various homes yesterday, the 23rd November, 2018 with strict instructions that if we failed to appear on the set date, we would be declared wanted,” the statement further read.
“We wish to state that we have been made fugitives because of the on-going threats to our lives and the lives of our families by Idajo and his men. We have been prevented from going about our lawful businesses by the continual presence of hordes of thugs who have made the House of Assembly their offices since 9th of November, 2018 and now the final straw!”
“We also state again that the Commissioner of Police, Gbenga Adeyanju, is a biased arbiter and is therefore not capable of mediating in or even investigating a crisis which he actively helped to foment. It is important therefore that he is relieved of his self-serving zeal to investigate this matter and we call on the highest authority of the Nigeria Police to assume this responsibility to forestall a possible breakdown of law and order in our hitherto peaceful State.”
The lawmakers declared that they would return and take up their lawful posts in the assembly, vowing to take up legal actions on the matter.
In his reaction, the Commissioner for Information in the state, Yemi Olowolabi, said Akeredolu was not interested in who becomes the speaker of the house.
“I am aware there was a meeting and the governor was there, and he told them to go and elect their speaker. They even wanted him to choose a speaker for them, but he refused,” said Olowolabi.
“It was also agreed that the speaker should lift the suspension on the other group, which has been done.”
The majority lawmakers have, however, faulted this argument of the governor saying the removed speaker has no power to lift any suspension as he could not have suspended them in the first place having been removed from office.
Olowolabi said the call for the arrest of Adebo and his union members should be directed to the police, as the governor had already warned the union that any of its members involved in such attacks would arrested and prosecuted.
“So, if they have any complaint, they should channel it to the police, which has the powers to tackle such issues,” Olowolabi added.