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Police, DSS Storm Cross River Assembly After Controversial Impeachment of Speaker, Ayambem



Police Operatives under the aegis of Dragon Squad, and their Department of State Services, DSS counterparts have stormed the Cross River State Assembly complex following the political crisis that led to the impeachment of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ekom Ayambem.

Ayambem, who represents Ikom 2 State Constituency in the Assembly, was impeached under controversial circumstances on Wednesday, May 22, by 17 members of the 25 legislative body over allegations of misappropriation of funds.

Members of the State Legislature had complained about the Speaker’s behaviour and the way the Assembly was run.

The impeachment motion was moved by Hon. Effiom Ekarika representing Calabar South 1 Constituency and seconded by Hon. Omang Charles Omang representing Bekwarra State Constituency.

After impeaching him, the mace was taken away by the members.

Ayambem was elected speaker of the 10th Cross River State House of Assembly in June 2023.

The lawmakers cited gross financial misconduct, incompetence, noncompliance with legislative laws, and failure to convene leadership meetings as the grounds for Ayambem’s removal.

They accused him of inability to account for N48 million meant for electricity bills and over N404 million from the Internal Revenue Service designated for oversight functions.

They also alleged that the Assembly leadership had not been able to account for N20 million from local government deductions.

Those that impeached him also alleged incompetence and wrong conduct of plenary proceedings.

They further accused him of appointing members to move or second motions, rather than following the democratic practice of allowing members to volunteer.

According to the angry legislators, Ayambem did not comply with legislative laws.

They said he also violated the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law of 2021 by his arbitrary approval of expenditures beyond his authorized limit and the refusal to inaugurate the Legislative Funds Management Committee.

The fourth and final ground of his impeachment was anchored on the failure to convene leadership meetings, with only one of such meetings held in the past 11 months.

“This lack of engagement has been perceived as a neglect of duty and a failure to foster collaborative governance within the House,” they said.

The opposing law makers displayed Internal Revenue Service documents and photographs of a luxurious house under construction allegedly funded by embezzled funds, saying these further tainted the reputation of the former Speaker.

Meanwhile, the impeached speaker had denied that he had been replaced describing the exercise that took place earlier in the day as a charade.

In a press statement issued after the dramatic season, the embattled Ayambem described his impeachment as false news.

“To be clear, the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly is without a doubt Rt. Hon Elvert Ayambem and that is the current position. What happened earlier today (Wednesday) during the plenary, when Hon. Effiong Akarika, a member representing Calabar South 1, disrupted the session by inviting hoodlums to enter the chamber, is a ridiculous charade with no constitutional basis.
According to him, the House of Assembly was not aware of any impeachment notices being served to anyone before the frivolous act as witnessed at the chambers.

“The alleged impeachment and replacement are speculative, and the general public is urged to disregard fake news and dismiss any notion of a crisis. The status quo is that Rt Hon Elvert Ayambem is the Speaker of the House of Assembly”, the statement signed by his media Aide, Matthew Okache read.

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