It was war at the Nasarawa State House of Assembly on Monday morning as members of the house exchanged blows among themselves following a dispute over the appointment of administrators for 11 local government councils by Governor Tanko Al-Makura.
According to reports, Governor Tanko Al-Makura, appointed and inaugurated sole administrators to man the affairs of their local government councils pending when elections would be conducted, after a two-year tenure of the chairmen of 11 local government areas in the state ended on March 24.
The Governor’s decision, however, did not go down well for some lawmakers, as they had earlier resolved to conduct elections immediately after the expiration of the tenure of the local government council chairmen. Six out of the 24 lawmakers alleged that the other lawmakers had received money to go against their resolution.
The allegations may have prompted the House leader to move for their suspension, a motion that resulted to chaos as the suspended members prevented the sitting and exchange harsh words and then, a fight began.
One of the lawmakers took hold of the mace, the symbol of authority, but the custodian of the symbol requested that he should be given the mace. He handed it over and ran towards another lawmaker for a fight.
Briefing newsmen at the legislative complex, a member, House Committee on Information, Mr. Makpa Malla, confirmed that seats and tables were broken during the fight. He described the appointment made by the governor as illegal, adding that the Assembly could not continue to watch the governor perpetrate illegalities in the state.
“Categorically, I want to state here that the division which caused this chaos was as result of the appointment of the sole administrators by the governor. As a responsible legislature with some of us as lawyers, we insisted that the right thing must be done.
“The Section 7 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – as amended – guarantees a democratic system of governance at the local government level. The provision of the constitution is explicit on how the local government structure should be run.
“That is why we are kicking against the appointment of the sole administrators. Sole administrators only existed during the military era and as respecters of the rule of law, we must ensure that the executive must also respect the rule of law.”
The deputy speaker, Godiya Akwashiki, who also spoke after the incident said the action (of appointing sole administraors) was taken due to the security situation in the state. He added:
“We cannot afford to leave the councils without heads. The tenure of the former local government chairmen expired on March 24, 2016.”
Below is the video of the fight as captured by Channels TV: