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Abia Assembly: Factional Speaker suspends embattled Orji, six others

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The leadership crisis rocking the Abia State House of Assembly took a different dimension on Wednesday as two factions of the House sat at two different locations in Umuahia, the state capital.

Dailytrail reports that some members of the state assembly sat at an undisclosed location and purportedly impeached the Speaker, Chief Chinedum Orji, on Tuesday.

The group led by the Deputy Speaker, Chief Ifeanyi Uchendu, also elected the member representing Umuahia East state constituency, Chief Chukwudi Apugo, as a new Speaker.

But in a swift reaction, the embattled Speaker convened a plenary session of the House at the Assembly complex and suspended nine members of the House who were seen in a viral video of the purported session where he was reportedly impeached.

Those suspended through a motion moved by the member representing Umuahia South State constituency, Chief Jerry Uzosike, were Ifeanyi Uchendu; Kennedy Njoku, Chikwendu Kalu, Chukwudi Apugo, Aron Uzodike.

Others were Chijioke Chukwu, A.C. Thomas Nkoro, Okey Igwe and Obinna Ichita.

The Deputy Speaker, Uchendu, was also impeached and replaced with the member representing Ohafia North state constituency, Chief Egwuonwu Obasi.

Orji had called on the security agencies guiding the Assembly complex to deny the suspended members access to the facility.

But the faction of the House led by Apugo held another plenary on Wednesday, where it purportedly suspended Orji and majority leader, Solomon Akpulonu.

He also suspended Paul Taribo (Ukwa East), Mandela Obasi (Ohafia North), Ginger Onwusibe (Isiala Ngwa North), Abraham Oba (Aba Central), Emeka Okoroafor (Isuikwuato) and Jerry Uzosike.

Apugo alleged that it was illegal for the former Speaker to preside over the House of Assembly plenary having been removed from the office earlier yesterday.

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According to him, Orji ceased to be the Speaker of the House following his earlier impeachment by the majority of the House on account of gross misconduct and abuse of office in the early hours of Tuesday.

He further explained that the purported suspension and replacement of Uchendu as the Deputy Speaker and the purported suspension of some members of the House is illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The faction, in its plenary, elected Aaron Uzodike, a member representing Aba North State Constituency as the new majority Leader.

Apugo reaffirmed the dissolution of all House standing Committees. He, however, reconstituted the following Committees: Appropriation, Public Accounts, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and four Ad Hoc Committee on the review of the activities of the House.

The Appropriation and Public Account committees are to be chaired by Kennedy Njoku and Obinna Ichita respectively. While Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Ad Hoc Committee on review on House activities are to be chaired by Chijioke Chukwu and Chikwendu Kalu respectively.

Apugo also warned that the House would take legal action against the suspended members if they go on to hold illegal plenaries.

He also advised security agencies in the state to stand firm in their defence of the Nigerian Constitution and not to patronise those violating the law.

Meanwhile, Orji also presided over a plenary session of the House with members loyal to him at the Assembly complex.

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