Thugs invade Benue Assembly, lawmakers oppose Ortom’s pension bill

Political thugs on Thursday took over the Benue State House of Assembly complex in Makurdi and harassed some lawmakers.

Our correspondent gathered that the suspected political thugs smatched vehicles belonging to some lawmakers perceived to be against the resumption of plenary session.

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The PUNCH had exclusively reported that the lawmakers suspended plenary to protest unpaid six months salary and three months overhead allowances.

The suspension of sitting affected the controversial executive pension bill,initiated by the outgoing governor, Samuel Ortom, seeking to place ex-governors and their deputies on gratuity, pension and other benefits.

A member of the state House of Assembly, who spoke to our correspondent exclusively on May 9 on condition of anonymity, had said, “As I am talking to you, December, 2022 salary has not been paid to us, lawmakers,  not to talk of January, February, March and April this year. It is six months now. Do you know that the House is also being owed three months overhead? So, we have refused to work on the pension bill. We, members, have suspended sitting until all our emoluments are paid.”

It was gathered that the suspected political thugs on Thursday stormed the Assembly complex  as early as 8am and took over the security of the complex.

The lawmaker representing Tiev state constituency, Terkaa Ucha, said, “My vehicle was not vandalised but I was penciled down to be harassed but I got the information and ran for my life.”

Ucha, who is the Chairman House Committee on Education,  said 17 out of 30 members of the House, were at the plenary when the hoodlums stormed in to disrupt proceedings.

“The  bill that was referred to my committee to work on was forcefully retrieved from my secretary; they intimidated him and asked him to bring the bill without my consent.Related News

“I had not signed it; neither did any of my members sign it but they went ahead and passed it,” he said.

Asked of the pension bill, Ucha said it could not be passed because the governor is not pension friendly.

“He cannot pass that bill in Benue State. If he is pension-friendly, we will know because my mother is a pensioner and my father died a pensioner,” Ucha said.

Also confirming the attack on lawmakers, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Tertsea Gbisea, said the political thugs disrupted planning and stopped the lawmakers from working on bills.

He said, ‘‘Some reports were laid and one was debated. We will continue tomorrow (Friday) . The controversial pension  bill was not passed.

“Bills are not passed in one day. It has not been considered. It has to go to second reading and sent to the relevant committee to work on it, brought back and deliberated upon. So it’s a long process.”

On lawmakers harassment, Gbisea said, “One of the members was harassed, his car was smashed.

“I think they were just political thugs; up till now, we don’t know who sent them or what their mission was. The security agencies have been alerted and an investigation will be carried out so that we can know who they were, who sent them and what their mission was.”


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