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Inibehe Effiong: No Constitutional Basis For National Assembly To Intervene in Rivers State Politics

Inibehe Effiong says the National Assembly should govern itself properly before thinking of intervening In Rivers State politics.

Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Inibehe Effiong, has said that the National Assembly should put its priorities in order and properly carry out its own legislative functions before it is able to intervene in the crisis that is rocking Rivers States’ political system.

Effiong said this in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Friday where he discussed the legality of the ongoing political crisis in Rivers State.

When Effiong was asked if the National Assembly should intervene in the state matter, he responded, “The current National Assembly should first demonstrate that it is even capable of self governing, that it is even governing itself properly, that it is even carrying out its own legislative functions properly. I think it will be burdensome for the Akpabio Senate for example that is struggling to even define what its purpose is- whether it is actually an independent institution or an appendage of the president, to now be looking into what is happening in Rivers State.

“And I say that very seriously, I don’t think this National Assembly has really exercised its functions as National Assembly. So, when they have satisfactorily discharged their own functions and have convinced Nigerians that they are a serious institution, if there is a crisis in a state, there can be cause to invite them to intervene. For now, I don’t see any constitutional basis for that whatsoever.”

He also addressed the matter of the police in Rivers State taking over access into local government secretariats as he said, “We have seen reports, we have also seen evidence that the police seems to have taken over access into secretariats of Local Government Councils in Rivers State. Is that really lawful? I think it is contestable.”

However, Effiong said that he believes that these issues were unavoidable as he recounted, “I think the degeneration of the political tension and the crisis in Rivers State is quite unfortunate. It is one that was entirely preventable, we could have avoided this situation that has unfolded in Rivers State.”

“Ours is a country where politics basically thrives on individual interests, where the interests of the people, the electorates- in this case, the people of Rivers State, has taken a secondary consideration, and that explains why we are in this position now.

“I am however getting worried that we are now getting to a position where it is beginning to look as if there is a parallel government in Rivers State, as if there is a dichotomy on the question of who or what institutions have constitutional roles in Rivers State,” he said.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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