The House of Representatives, on Friday, said it cannot act yet on the political crisis rocking Rivers State because the issue has not been presented formally before the National Assembly.
The deputy spokesman of the House of Representatives, Phillip Agbese, disclosed this in an interview with Saturday PUNCH.
The Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, is currently having a running battle with the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, who is his predecessor in office.
The crisis has divided the state House of Assembly with members loyal to Wike moving to impeach Fubara.
In the wake of the crisis, an explosion was recorded at the Assembly complex on October 29 with Wike indicting the governor on the matter.
Wike said Fubara should have confronted him on the issue, rather than send people to “burn the hallowed chambers,” while Fubara disclosed he remains loyal to the former governor.
The PUNCH reports on December 8 that Fubara said no level of sabotage deliberately staged would make him abandon the mandate given to him to serve, protect and advance the fortunes of the state.
On Wednesday, the state House of Assembly was demolished by the State Government.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, in a statement on Wednesday said the action was due to the fire that gutted the complex and destroyed property worth millions of naira, which he said rendered the facility unfit for legislative business.
The crisis in the state has led to the resignation of some commissioners while 27 lawmakers loyal to Wike defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
Section 11 (4) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gives instances the National Assembly can take over state House of Assembly until the challenge facing it is resolved.
Subsection (4) provides, “At any time when any House of Assembly of a state is unable to perform its functions because of the situation prevailing in that state, the National Assembly may make such laws for the peace, order and good government of that state concerning matters on which a House of Assembly may make laws as may appear.”
Subsection (5) reads, “For the purposes of subsection (4) of this section, a House of Assembly shall not be deemed to be unable to perform its functions as long as the House of Assembly can hold a meeting and transact business.”
However, given why the National Assembly cannot act in the crisis and take charge of the House of Assembly for now, Agbese disclosed that the conflict is yet to be presented before the Federal House.
“It is true that there is a constitutional backing for the National Assembly to intervene where there are established instances of crisis in a state House of Assembly that is unable to perform its functions.
“The 10th House has not been notified of any crisis. If it is not formally aware, there is nothing much we can do by way of intervention in the crisis, but it is our wish that the matter will be resolved amicably so that Rivers lawmakers can go about the business they were elected to do by their people. This is all I can say for now,” Agbese said exclusively while speaking to Saturday PUNCH