The ruling All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party have slammed the the Plateau State Police Command.
They condemned the police for barring the state legislators access to perform their duties following the sealing off of the Assembly complex.
The parties which spoke to The PUNCH in separate interviews in Jos, the state capital, accused the police of working to destroy democracy in Plateau State and demanded the unsealing of the State House of Assembly to allow legislators to perform their functions.
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The PUNCH reports that for the past three weeks, the Plateau State House of Assembly had remained under lock and key at the instance of the police high command whose personnel manned the assembly complex daily.
The police had said its action was on the need to maintain law and order in the wake of the latest leadership crisis rocking the Assembly
over who should be recognized as the authentic Speaker between Ayuba Abok, who represents Jos East Constituency and Yakubu Sanda, who represents Pengana Constituency.
Lawmakers have not conducted plenary elections since the police took over the state legislature as they were barred from the Assembly complex.
But the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, John Akans, on Wednesday said it was unbelievable that the police could wake up and stop the functions of another arm of government without recourse to the law, describing it as unconstitutional, reprehensible, abuse of power and brazen show of partisanship.
He said, “As a party, we are monitoring the situation with keen interest. We are made to understand that the state Commissioner of Police has taken sides with the state government to seal the Assembly for no justifiable reason.
“We are consulting with our lawyers to know where the Commissioner of Police derives his powers to stop the function of another arm of the government which is the legislature. He should explain to the Plateau people why he has chosen to destroy democratic practice in the state. Ordinarily, the CP has no constitutional right to do that because what is available to us as a party is a declaratory judgement reinstating Rt Honourable Abok Ayuba as the legitimate Speaker of the State Assembly.
“There is no other judgement setting aside that judgement. Let him produce it if he has a contrary judgement. So, we know the judgement still exists and notice of appeal, if any, is not the same as a stay of execution. And even at that, Abok had already resumed office immediately after the judgement. So, the Commissioner of Police owes the people of Plateau State an explanation why he should continue to seal the state Assembly even when there is no crisis at all. He should reopen the place to enable lawmakers to perform their duties without further delay”.
Similarly, the State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Sylvanus Namang, berated the police for sealing the Assembly complex and asked for the immediate unsealing of the Plateau Assembly without further delay to enable the lawmakers to perform their constitutional duties.
Namang said, “What is happening at the Plateau Assembly is unfair to the people. Our position as a party is that the State Assembly should be unsealed by the police. Does it mean that anyone can issue a threat and you lock the place?
“The action of the police is not telling well about the state. But as far as we are concerned, Rt Honourable Yakubu Sanda is the authentic Speaker of the State Assembly and will remain so until the end of their tenure in June. We expect the police to know who is not the Speaker and allow the lawmakers to perform their duties. So, we are appealing to the police to once again unseal the Assembly complex and protect those who are ready to do their work as lawmakers”.
The police were yet to react to enquiries following the lawmakers’ demand.
But when contacted, the police insisted that its continued stay at the Assembly was for the good of the state
The spokesman for the police command, DSP Alfred Alabo said, “Let them (APC and PDP) say whatever they want but as far as we are concerned, our presence at the State House of Assembly is purely for security reasons.
“We are there to prevent a breakdown of law and order and nothing else “