A’Ibom Assembly declares seats of five lawmakers vacant.

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By Emeka Samuel, Uyo

Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly on Monday declared vacant five seats of members who recently moved from the PDP to the APC.

A press statement from the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Mr Kufre Okon said the seats include that of Itu, Etim Ekpo/Ika, Ikono, Mkpat Enin, and Essien Udim state

The affected lawmakers include Mr Idongesit Ituen, Mr Gabriel Toby, Mr Victor Udofia, Barr Otobong Ndem and Mr Nse Ntuen.

House Speaker Barr Onofiok Luke who presided over the sitting said his action was in line with section 109 sub 1g
of the 1999 constitution as amended.

The House has also passed a motion urging Governor Udom Emmanuel to name either the Akwa Ibom state University or the Ibom International Airpot after former Governor Victor Attah in commemoration of his 80th birthday.

Meanwhile security has been beefed up at the state assembly where supporters of one of the lawmakers whose seat was declared vacant, Mr Idongesit Ituen of Itu state constituency had earlier gathered to disrupt the sitting.

Ituen’s seat had last week been declared vacant by an Uyo High Court after he had approached the court to stop the Speaker from declaring his seat vacant

There was heavy presence of security personnel at the premises as protesters attempted to force their way into the assembly premises while bone fires were set on roads leading to the assembly.

Police were accused by protesters of threats to shoot on sight even as the State Police Public Relations Officer Mr Macdon Ogbeche stressed in a radio phone in programme that the police would not fold its hand and watch people take laws into their hands.

The state PDP had earlier through its Publicity Secretary, Barr Ini Ememobong siad they have uncovered plans to attack the Akwa Ibom State House of

“We are in receipt of credible intelligence highlighting plans by the opposition APC to use
thugs to invade the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly and prevent the House from carrying
out its legitimate business of law making. The thugs we have been reliably informed, are
camped in Ikot Ekpene and will be conveyed in buses to Uyo,.

“On arrival at uyo, they will be
dropped at different locations (Abak road by secretariat junction, Itam junction, uyo village road by ikpa road) from where they are expected to board tricycles in pairs and head towards the assembly. Another set of thugs are expected to
accompany the ousted lawmaker, Mr. Idongesit Ituen to attempt to force his way into the assembly.

“The motive of this invasion is to
prevent the Speaker from declaring vacant the seat of the sacked legislator. This invasion has as its adjunct function, the creation of tension as a feeder to the desired invitation of ‘Federal
might’ to close the assembly.

” However, the fact of the matter is that by the judgement of the
Federal High Court, Uyo delivered in a suit filed by the self-embattled lawmaker( former
Honourable Ituen), the court held inter alia that by his defection, he had lost his seat and ipso
facto restrained the Speaker or any of the official of the Assembly from recognizing or
granting access to the said former legislator.

“The Speaker had upon receipt of the judgement issued a statement indicating his obedience of the court order. That having been done, the seat
of the ousted assemblyman had become vacant by the operation of law. So the intended invasion
is unwarranted and in fact useless, as it’s aims are already defeated.

“The only available route for the Former Honourable member and his co- travellers is to obtain an order of a higher court vacating the judgement of the Federal High Court, Uyo which for all purposes is extant. We have alerted security agencies to prevent any attack on the symbol of democracy. The State assembly must be protected and allowed to function properly without any distraction

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