The deputy speaker of the Abia House of Assembly, Ifeanyi Uchendu, and eight other lawmakers have been suspended for one month with no benefits over the alleged impeachment of the speaker, Chinedum Orji. Orji, who presided over the session, announced the suspension of the lawmakers for one month with no benefits.
The suspended members included Kennedy Njoku, Chukwudi Apugo, Aaron Uzodike, Thomas Nkoro, Okey Igwe, Chikwendu Kalu, Obinna Ichitta, and Chijioke Chukwu.
Earlier, 16 out of the 24-member house allegedly signed for the speaker’s impeachment at a guest house in the Umuahia metropolis. The former speaker, Kennedy Njoku, moved the motion for the speaker’s removal, which was seconded by Mr Chukwu.
The meeting was presided over by the suspended deputy speaker, Ifeanyi Uchendu. In a video that went viral, the lawmakers unanimously endorsed the speaker’s impeachment and elected Mr Apugo as the new speaker.
However, hours after the purported impeachment, Mr Orji convened an emergency plenary session at the assembly complex, where nine members, including himself, resolved to suspend the other nine members.
Only members who physically participated in the purported impeachment were suspended, and those whose signatures were allegedly obtained were exonerated pending further investigations. The house replaced the suspended deputy speaker with Mandela Obasi, who was immediately sworn in as the new deputy speaker.
The house also set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged misconduct of the suspended members and submit its report in one week. Speaking to journalists after the plenary session, Mr Orji said he had faced several humiliations as a speaker and that he had been impeached because he refused to always be at loggerheads with the governor over the lawmakers’ welfare.