Benue State lawmakers loyal to Senator George Akume numbering 12 have served the state governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, an impeachment notice.
The lawmakers, said to have been led by the impeached Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr. Terkibir Ikyange, said they were commencing impeachment proceedings against the Governor Ortom on allegation of fraudulent activities, non- payment of workers’ salaries and non performance.
They were said to have moved into the Assembly complex amidst tight security early in the morning of Monday.
It was gathered that the session lasted for about one hour in which the members also suspended the 15 members of the group loyal to the governor.
It will be noted that the House consists of 30 members.
The group loyal to Governor Ortom, led by the new Speaker, Titus Uba, claimed to have 22 members, while it said that the other group loyal to Senator George Akume have eight members.
But Ikyange said that 12 lawmakers on Monday met and took the decision to commence impeachment processed against the governor.
He noted that the group had got an order from court directing banks to release to it (group of lawmakers) details of accounts allegedly opened for some workers but which were allegedly used to siphon money.
Addressing journalists at his official residence at Commissioner’s Quarters along Otukpo Road, Ikyange said that 12 members sat to review the political development in the state and subsequently took a decisive decision.
“Two decisions were taken: one, the members looked at action of some members who invaded the House of Assembly, causing unrest in the state.
“The conduct is not acceptable; we have sent the 15 members on six-month suspension.
“Another item was the motion brought by the Majority Leader of the House to give a notice of impeachment, stating the offences the governor has committed in the past three years.
“We looked at it and saw that it had merit. The House found N50m fraud in each of the 23 local governments, running into N33bn in the past three years.
“Also, the non payment of salaries of seven months to state workers, 11 months’ salaries being owed local government workers and pensioners up to 15 months, as well as non performance which has affected the economy of the state,” Ikyange said.
When asked whether the members formed a quorum, Ikyange said that 12 members sat for the proceedings.
Reacting to the development, Governor Ortom, who said he remained the governor of Benue State, described the development as drifting back to days of dictatorship.
Blaming his latest travail on President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Ortom asked, “What is my offence?”
He asked to know when it became an offence for anybody to decide what association he chooses to belong to.
But a respondent slammed the governor to mind his own problem and stop blaming his problem on President Buhari all the times, adding that it was the same way he blamed the killings in his state on the President joining those who claimed he was supporting his Fulani herdsmen to “kill” Benue people because he is a Fulani man until arrested killers sentenced and still being prosecuted now have revealed Ortom was the main sponsor of the killers in his state in collaboration with others.