The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, in a memo sent to Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has called for police protection for 17 members of the Edo State House of Assembly.
The memo, dated August 5, 2020, is believed to be in response to the petition from the lawmakers’ lawyers, hinging their request on the brewing political crisis in the state ahead of its September 19 governorship election.
The contest, between the PDP incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki and Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), took a new dimension on Monday as four lawmakers joined existing 14 others who had declared their support for Ize-Iyamu, leaving the incumbent with only seven lawmakers.
This was followed by the impeachment of the Deputy Speaker, Yekini Idiaye, who was among the four lawmakers who just switched allegiance, by the seven pro-Obaseki lawmakers, headed by the Assembly’s Speaker, Frank Okiye.
In reaction, the 17 lawmakers met at an undisclosed location on Thursday where they impeached Okiye and inaugurated the 14 members of the camp whose seats were declared vacant in 2019 by Obaseki.
Since then, the political tussle in the state has continued to draw attention from different angles, both within and outside the state.
Malami, in his letter quoted by newsmen, requested police protection for the 17 lawmakers based on their lawyer’s petition.
“My office is in receipt of a letter dated 3rd August, 2020 from Messers West Idahosa & Co. requesting for the intervention of my office on behalf of its clients who are members–elect of the Edo State House of Assembly, but who were excluded or prevented from being inaugurated till date since the House was inaugurated on 17th June 2019. A copy of the letter is attached for ease of reference.
“The law firm has requested that the affected members-elect, who were willing to discharge their constitutional roles, should be inaugurated or sworn in by the Clerk of the House,” newsmen reported Malami, saying the request is in line with the provisions of “Sections 90, 91, 101 and 104 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered).”
Hinging his reason on thus, he therefore requested the office of the IGP to “provide adequate security measures for the purpose of the inauguration of the concerned members and subsequent sittings of the Edo State House of Assembly.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s electoral body, INEC, has also threatened to cancel the Edo State governorship election if the parties and their proxies continue to encourage unrest in the state.