Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, was the one who asked Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police (IGP), to provide security for the inauguration of some lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo.
In a letter dated August 5, Malami said his intervention was to enable the lawmakers hold plenary within the house of assembly complex.
“My office is in receipt of a letter dated 3rd August, 2020 from Messrs 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,” Malami’s letter read.
“In view of the forgoing and in order to ensure constitutional compliance with the dictates of Sections 91 – 96 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) and also to prevent breakdown of peace, law and order, I’m requesting you kindly provide adequate security measures for the purpose of the inauguration of the concerned members and subsequent sittings in Edo State House of Assembly.”
In an unexpected turn of events on Thursday, the Edo state house of assembly complex was besieged by armed security personnel.
Later on Thursday, lawmakers-elect of the Edo state house of assembly took their oath of office at a hidden location.
After taking the oath of office, the lawmakers elected Victor Edoror, who was impeached as deputy speaker in 2018, as speaker.
However, in a letter dated August 6, Frank Okiye, speaker of the Edo assembly, kicked against the decision of the minister.
According to the speaker, Malami’s letter led to a breakdown of law and order in the state.
He said there were still pending court cases on the matter involving the lawmakers, and as a result, Malami’s intervention would be a “grievous assault” to the rule of law.
“I am reluctant to conclude that the breathtaking speed of your response to the said letter had anything to do with the fact that the Governor had left the APC for the PDP,” Okiye said.
“I am however certain that your office certainly did not have all the facts relevant to the matter before it issued the advisory and directive to the police to intervene in the affairs of the Edo State House of Assembly.”
Okiye listed three court cases, two of which are still pending, stating that the affected members in the suits refused to take their oath of office and as a result their seats were declared vacant — the lawmakers were later said to have challenged the declaration.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that all matters relating to the functioning or otherwise of the Edo State House of Assembly and/or its members are sub judice,” he said.
“It would therefore be clear that the course of action which you have urged upon the Inspector General of Police would in fact amount to a grievous assault on the rule of law, separation of powers and respect for judicial authority.”