By Christiana Ekpa
The House Representatives yesterday moved to investigate the alleged politically-motivated killings and violence in the last governorship and Kogi West Senatorial rerun in Kogi State.
The decision of the House followed sponsored by Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Toby Okechukwu (Enugu PDP)
Okechukwu in his Motion on “Urgent National Importance”, sought to have the violence that claimed several lives, including that of a PDP Woman Leader and members of her family looked into. The deceased, was reportedly locked up in her apartment along with other members of her family and burnt to death.
The Deputy Minority Leader while arguing for his motion, which was forcefully challenged, insisted that its intention was not ulterior or partisan, but according to him, aimed at bringing culprits in the violence at the polls, to Justice.
The sponsor of the Motion, in the course of pushing for its passage, said the last Kogi elections beat previous records in violence, a claim that was forcefully contested by several All Progressives Congress legislators, led by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Ibrahim Idris Wase, representing Wase Federal Constituency of Plateau State.
Earlier, Whip of the House, Mohammed Monguno, representing Monguno/Marte/Nganzai Federal Constituency of Borno State, however said except for the part doubting the outcome of the polls, the Motion deserved the approval of the House.
Barr. Monguno, also recommended for the setting up of a “Special Commission” to punish perpetrators of violence at elections.
Rep. Nicholas Ossai representing Ndokwa/ Ukwuani Federal Constituency of Delta State, on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), however put up a spirited defence of Okechukwu’s motion, in it’s entirety.
Arguments on the motion, were briefly interrupted when Rep. Chukwuma Umeoji, representing Aguata Federal Constituency got the House to observe a minute of silence for those killed in the last Kogi polls.
The Speaker, who waded in at 1:38pm, after a 48-minute debate on the motion, sought for decorum, citing Order 9 Rule 5 of the Legislative Houses and Privileges Act and the Rules of the 9th House of Representatives.
Order 9 Rule 5, cautions the Parliament against discussing matters before Courts. Though Mr. Okechukwu insisted that the matter in issue, wasn’t before any court, the Speaker rammed through with his opinion, with the backing of a majority of the House.
Warts and all, the Motion scaled through and was referred to Committee o Police Affairs, but with a caveat from the Speaker, that the Committee looking into the violence, should not make reference to any party involved in the last Kogi State governorship poll and senatorial rerun elections, “whether PDP, APC or SDP”.
Duration for the probe, was however not mentioned by the Speaker.
The Kogi polls were held on Saturday, November 16, with reported cases of violence, that notably claimed a PDP woman leader and some of her relatives.