Benin - Mr Philip Shaibu, the Majority Leader, Edo House of Assembly (EDHA), says the crisis in the Assembly was not fueled by the defection of four All Progressives Congress (APC) legislators.
Shaibu on Tuesday in Benin said that what happened was contrary to the claims making the rounds.
“The crisis was rather fueled by the refusal of the four lawmakers who defected to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to obey a court order,’’ he said.
The legislator said the APC, whose members are in the majority in the House, had no problem with the defection of the four members to the PDP.
He said the four PDP lawmakers had before their defection approached the court with prayers that the assembly should not declare their seats vacant or suspend them.
“We (the House) obeyed the first prayer. But the court did not grant them the second prayer, which was meant to stop us from suspending them should they defect.
“The House of Assembly has its rules and it allows for the suspension of erring members and members who are disobedient to its rules.
“It was on this basis that the four erring members were suspended by the House.
“They (PDP lawmakers) refused to obey the court order suspending them and even disregarded the court order which forbids them from the precinct of the assembly.
“We cannot be lawmakers and at the same time be law-breakers.
“If we (the legislature) can obey the court order, which forbids us from declaring the seats of the defecting PDP legislators vacant, why did they fail to obey the court order which forbids them from the precinct of the assembly?’’
A Benin High Court presided over by Justice V.O. Eboreime had on June 16 restrained the suspended lawmakers from forcibly gaining entrance into the assembly premises and legislative quarters.
The lawmakers are Deputy Speaker Festus Ebea, Jude Ise-Idehen, Friday Ogieriakhi and Patrick Osayimwen.
The crisis led to the polarisation of the assembly with APC lawmakers having their plenary in the Benin Government House, while the minority PDP legislators sit in the assembly complex. (NAN)