•Suspended lawmakers cry out
The recently suspended members of Imo State House of Assembly have cried out that they were being harassed and threatened by faceless individuals to support the plans to impeach the Deputy Governor of the state, Prince Eze Madumere, or face severe consequences.
Two of the affected lawmakers, who spoke to The Nation on telephone at the weekend, Nkenna Nzeruo and Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, said since their sudden suspension, which they described as illegal, they have been receiving threatening telephone calls from numbers their ‘True Caller’ facility could not identify.
Nzeruo John Nkenna, the lawmaker representing Oru East, told The Nation on Friday that threats and harassment have forced him to go into hiding. As he puts it: “I am speaking with you from a hidden place. I have been into hiding for some time now because of the repeated threats through telephone calls that cannot be traced. Besides threats over telephone, there have been constant unusual movements at night in and around my compound,” he said.
Another suspended lawmaker, Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, who spoke to The Nation over the phone yesterday, said he has also received threatening calls from faceless individuals. “They started harassing me in Abuja, at the National Convention venue, where thugs descended on me and my colleague at the House, Lawman Duruji, physically beat me up at the open convention venue while President Muhammadu Buhari was making his welcome speech. It was unbelievable. What is even more stunning is that after the convention and the illegal suspension on the floor of the State House of Assembly in Owerri, the same lawmaker, Lawman Duruji, who beat me up, was made the Chairman of the Committee the Speaker set up to try our case. As you know, the committee was asked to do its investigation and submit the report last Thursday. But as we speak today (Saturday), there has been no invitation from the committee, no telephone call, no contact of any kind on the alleged un-parliamentary conduct. Instead the House simply gave itself a long vacation. This act is clearly unconstitutional, illegal and unacceptable. We will go to court to seek interpretation of the development and justice. My worry is, does the Speaker of the House have the right to suspend a lawmaker who has not been charged of any known offence?”
Nnataraonye also said some faceless individuals have been threatening him since his suspension. “Although nobody has been apprehended physically, I am being harassed by some unknown individuals through threatening telephone calls. They use telephone numbers whose identity my True Caller facility cannot display,” he said, adding, it is easy for anyone to know where the pressure is coming from. How come a lawmaker who beat up a colleague in the presence of thugs is not suspended but four other lawmakers whose offences cannot be described are the ones suspended?”
Since June 27, when the state Assembly suspended the four lawmakers for alleged “un-parliamentary” conducts,” there has been political tension in the state as some observers have linked the action to the alleged impeachment of the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere.
The suspended lawmakers are Chiji Collins (Isiala Mbano); Ifeanyi Nnataraonye (Mbaitoli); Uche Oguwuike (Ikeduru) and Ikenna Nzeruo (Oru West).
While announcing the suspension, the Speaker, Acho Ihim, had also appointed Lawman Duruji (Ehime Mbano) to chair a disciplinary committee to investigate the matter.
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