Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, says the institution of impeachment proceedings against him by eight members of the state assembly would have been impossible were Nigeria not a shithole country.
Eight members of the Benue State Assembly served Ortom with impeachment notice on Monday, citing abuse of office and mismanagement of funds.
Reacting to the move, Ortom said he had now come to understand why US President Donald Trump said there are “shithole countries” in Africa.
Ortom blamed the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and Director-General of the Department of State Services plotting to unseat him, saying he was being targeted for defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He also accused George Akume, a current senator and former Governor of the state, of working behind the scenes to destabilise his government.
“Today, I’ve realised why Donald Trump called Nigeria or Africa a shithole. I want to believe that Mr. President is not aware of what is taking place in Benue State because as President who swore to uphold the rule of law and due process, and who is referred to as a man of integrity, a man of honour and who respects the constitution of our land, I’m sure he is not aware of the impunity and ignominy that is being perpetrated by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the DG of DSS,” he said.
“For me, I will continue to do my duty at all times. The action of the agents actively supported by the Police and DSS, the actions of the eight members of the House of Assembly against 22 who are legitimately doing their jobs has demonstrated the highest level of hooliganism and ignominy.
“The police detachment from Abuja is acting on the directives of Senator George Akume and the IGP and DSS, forcibly occupying the assembly in flagrant disobedience of court order to vacate the premises.
“The Police barred and stopped the 22 members of the Benue State House of Assembly from entering the assembly premises to conduct their legitimate duties and manhandled citizens who were going to watch the proceedings. They teargassed many and took them away.
Ortom said the entire turn of events “does not make sense”, adding: “Terkimbi ikyange, the impeached Speaker, paraded himself as Speaker in flagrant disobedience to the court order that he should not do so until the matter is heard.
“The same members claim to have illegally moved a motion to serve an impeachment notice on me. Eight members cannot be two/third of 30 members of the assembly. An impeachment notice that I’ve not seen any way, but that is what I heard.
“I want to believe in the rule of law and will deploy legal process to tackle this form of challenge. We are not going into any kind of illegality and that is what democracy is all about. We will continue to protect the democracy that we have in this country.
“I call on patriotic Nigerians to rise and resist this impunity. What is my offence? Have I not got the right to decide to associate with any political association of my choice? Is it the first time we are doing that? Even in America, defection is not a crime, so I want to call on Mr. President to protect this democracy that made him President.
“This form of impunity will only derail the democratic process that we have. Mr President should not allow this. The IGP should not be allowed to be used by Senator Akume to perpetrate evil.
“So, if Akume is recruited to bring people to destabilise this government, he should be called to order. Now I know why Trump called Nigeria a shithole country. It’s only in a shithole country that eight House of Assembly members can suspend 22 lawmakers.”