by Ayobami Olopade
Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal has declared the dissatisfaction of the National Assembly with the ruling nullifying its takeover of the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly and revealed that the National Assembly would appeal the decision.
While receiving 23 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly led by Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amachree, on Thursday, Tambuwal stated that the National Assembly was acting on a collective decision taken by members of the two chambers of the National Assembly and that neither himself nor the Senate president had personal interest; a power which he said was allocated to the National Assembly by the Constitution.
According to him, “For as long as I can remember, it is the first time that it has ever happened in the history of this country for the National Assembly to take over a state assembly based on the constitutional powers given.”
”As you have rightly said, we have appealed against that decision so the matter is subjudice so I wouldn’t want to say anything or comment on it” as it would be sorted out “at the Court of Appeal and possibly the Supreme Court. But definitely, the National Assembly is not going to let go on this matter. We are going to exhaust all levels of appeal because we still believe we have such powers as provided in the constitution.”
He also commented on the happenings after the judgement which he said justified the action of the National Assembly, “Immediately after the judgment, I read in the papers that you want to go back and I watched what happened a few days ago. That has vindicated the National Assembly.”
On behalf of the delegation, Dan-Amachree thanked the Speaker for his “show of solidarity and timely intervention during the crisis in Rivers State”, and revealed the reason they had come to visit Tambuwal which he said was to inform the House of their decision to obey the court ruling that nullified the takeover of the Assembly’s functions by the National Assembly and resume sitting on Monday and sought the help of the National Assembly in speaking with the IGP to provide adequate security and an enabling environment for their sitting.
“We are also here to inform you that we want to go back and start performing our legislative duties based on the court judgment. We know that you have appealed but we want to obey the court judgment as law-abiding citizens of this country. We have even gone to the Rivers State Police Command, they invited us yesterday to sign an undertaking that we will be of good behaviour.”
On the issue of security, Tambuwal stated, “My expectation as a person is that the IG or the CP of Rivers need not be appealed to. It is their duty to provide security and to ensure your safety whenever you are going in there to preside and sit as an assembly. In any case, it is the duty of the police to provide security to all Nigerians, to protect our lives and our property.” But he nevertheless, promised to meet with the IGP along with the leadership of the National Assembly to provide security for them when they resume sitting on Monday.
On the request that a delegation from the House be present to witness their first sitting after the break, Tambuwal said the House’s delegation may witness the resumed sitting, but that it would be based on the decision of the House.