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Fresh crisis rocks Cross River as lawmakers impeach speaker

A report confirmed that 17 Assembly members backed the impeachment of the Speaker.

Elvert Ekom Ayambem [Facebook]

According to Leadership, 17 Assembly members backed the impeachment of the Speaker.

Hon. Effiom Ekarika, the representative for Calabar South 1 Constituency, proposed a motion that Hon. Omang Charles Omang of the Bekwarra State Constituency supported.

Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, elected as Speaker of the 10th Cross River State House of Assembly in June 2023 and representing Ikom 2 State Constituency, ended his term abruptly due to grave accusations.

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According to Channels TV, a chaotic scene unfolded following Ayambem’s impeachment. A lawmaker rushed towards the mace, the emblem of the speaker’s authority.

This led to a fierce struggle as the legislator, who was in possession of the mace, adamantly refused to let go, sparking a physical altercation that reverberated through the chamber.

The impeachment notice issued on Wednesday accuses the former speaker of misusing funds.

Lawmakers allege he mishandled N48 million allocated for electricity bills for the assembly complex and housing.

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Additionally, they claim he misappropriated 2 percent of the monthly revenue collected by the Internal Revenue Service, totalling N404 million.

The allegations against the speaker include “Misappropriation of the sum of N19,437, 844.00 (Nineteen Million, Four Hundred and Thirty-Seven Thousand, Eight Hundred and forty-five Naira) from Local Government deduction and 11 months deductions which he allegedly failed to disclose to members,” the impeachment notice reads.

“Incompetence and wrong conduct of plenary proceedings: Un-parliamentary way of conducting proceedings.

“Appointment of members to move or second motions rather than allowing interested members to raise their hands. Non-compliance with the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law 2021.

“Arbitrary approval of expenditure in flagrant breach of the provisions of Section 9(1) of the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law 2021.

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“Approvals beyond the limit which the Speaker can approve contrary to Section 9(10) of the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law 2021.”

Kingsley Ntui, Okon Owuna, Samuel Neji Abang, Cyril James Omini, Stanley Nsemo, and Charles Omang Omang were among the lawmakers who signed the impeachment notice.

Others included Thomas Aruku, Eyo Bassey, Bassey Bassey Effiong, Francis Onete Ogban, Victor Nsa, Ovat Agbor, Pius Ashas Ashakia, Martins Achadu, Effiong Ekarika, Egbe Abeng Egbe, and Hilary Bisong.

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