By Chioma Onuegbu& Harris Okon-Emmanuel
The crisis in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly assumed a different dimension, yesterday, as five suspended lawmakers met after the House had adjourned sitting and elected Mr. Nse Ntuen, representing Essien Udim Constituency, as the new Speaker.
This came on the heels of the declaration of the seats of the lawmakers vacant by the Speaker of the House, Mr. Luke Onofiok.
The lawmakers recently defected to All Progressives Congress, APC, from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The affected lawmakers include Idongesit Ituen, Gabriel Toby, Victor Udofia, Otobong Ndem and Nse Ntuen of Itu, Etim Ekpo/Ika, Ikono, Mkpat Enin, and Essien Udim constituencies respectively.
Luke declared the seats vacant during an emergency sitting which lasted less than one hour on Monday, despite plot by some of the affected legislators.
Drawing his strength from Section 109 subsection 1 of the 1999 Constitution, Onofiok declared the seats of the lawmakers vacant which immediately threw the House into a rancorous session.
Angry youths stormed the Assembly Complex in reaction to the development.
The glass entrance door of the House was damaged in the ensuing melee between security agents and the youths, who also chanted solidarity songs to drive home their demands.
Ituen was sacked by a Federal High Court sitting in Uyo last Wednesday.
The presiding Judge, Justice F.O. Riman, had subsequently on Thursday served the Speaker an enrolled order conveying the judgment of the Federal High Court of Nigeria restraining him from further recognising Idongesit Ituen as a member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Efforts by the thugs allegedly hired to disrupt the emergency sitting were foiled as the leadership of the PDP had alerted security agencies in the state early about the planned attack.
The Speaker and other legislators were able to gain access into the Assembly Complex with the assistance of security agents drafted to barricade the area as early as 7:00 am.
As at the time of filing this report there was still a heavy presence of policemen and other security agents at the Complex.
The leadership of the PDP in the state had earlier issued a statement raising the alarm over a planned attack.
On its part, the APC has called for calm while admonishing the state government not to throw the state into anarchy ahead of the 2019 general polls.
A statement by its Publicity Secretary, Nkereuwem Eyongekere said: ‘’We are watching the ongoing development in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly with great concern. At the appropriate time, the party will make its position categorically clear.”https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/11/apc-lokpobiri-fault-bayelsa-assembly-on-cps-posting/
However the House during the emergency sitting passed a motion urging the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel to name either the Akwa Ibom State University or the Ibom Airport after a former governor of the state, Cheif Victor Attah in commemoration of his 80th birthday.