Staffers at the Benue state House of Assembly were Tuesday morning, in Makurdi, chased out of their various offices and duty posts by stern looking armed police personnel who also sealed off the Assembly complex.
This came on the heels of Monday’s crisis between the state lawmakers who have splitter into two factions with a 22 member People Democratic Party, PDP, faction on one hand and eight member All Progressives Congress, APC, faction who (APC) raised impeachment notice on Governor Samuel Ortom on the other.
Clerk of the State House, Torese Agena, confirming the development, said armed police personnel on the orders of the new Commissioner of Police, CP, Besan Gwana, forced workers in the Assembly complex out of their offices.
His words, “Today after two hours of resumption of work, we had orders from the security men that the Benue state Commissioner of Police has given an order that all staff should vacate the Assembly.
“This to me is harassment, one that is to many because for two weeks now, staff of the Assembly have not been allowed to do their work.
“That is why we are urging the media to assist us tell the Commissioner of Police, Benue command and to prevail on the Commander in Chief of this country to direct the Inspector General of Police to withdrew from the premises of the Assembly so that staff can do their work unhindered. I and all staff were chased out of the premises today.
“The Police personnel who chased us out told us that the Commissioner of Police ordered them to chase us out of the complex and no definite time was given as to when we would return to our duty posts.
“We are crying out because this action will stop us from doing our work and it is going to impede the work of the legislature. And of course it will obviously affect the livelihood of the generality of Benue people negatively”.
Security Adviser to the State Governor, Paul Hemba, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, who confirmed the development said he gathered from the Police Commissioner that the order to seal off the complex by Police personnel were still at the Assembly complex for security purposes.
He said, “But I also got information of the police personnel chasing away the workers at the complex. I got in touch with the Commissioner of Police and he confirmed that yes indeed that it was the instruction and that he was acting on order from above.
“I told him of the concern of the civil servants and that of the Clerk of the House but he told me that the order was from above and that he would take steps to get clarification from Abuja as he was on his way to Abuja for the IGP’s conference.
“He said he would get clarification from there before he would be able to give instructions for the reopening of the Complex”.
CP Gwana, feigned ignorance of the development saying, “I am not in Makurdi but in Abuja at the moment, I will inquire from my officers and know whether there was anything like that and get back to you”.