Fact Check

Cross River Assembly Rocked: Speaker impeached amidst corruption allegations

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In a dramatic turn of events, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ekom Ayambem has been impeached from his position as the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly.

The impeachment, orchestrated by 17 out of the 25-member House, unfolded amidst allegations of financial misappropriation that have sent shockwaves through the state’s political landscape.

The majority of lawmakers cast a vote of no confidence against Rt. Hon. Ayambem, who had held the speakership for approximately 11 months.

The motion for impeachment was spearheaded by Hon. Effiom Ekarika and seconded by Hon. Omang Charles Omang, both representatives of key constituencies.

Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, who also represents Ikom 2 State Constituency in the Assembly, found himself at the center of a heated rowdy session following the impeachment proceedings.

Tensions escalated when one lawmaker made a dash for the mace, the symbol of the speaker’s authority, triggering a chaotic struggle within the chamber.

The grounds for Ayambem’s impeachment, as outlined in the impeachment notice include allegations of financial misconduct.

Lawmakers accused the former Speaker of misappropriating N48 million earmarked for the payment of electricity bills for the assembly complex and quarters.

Additionally, they alleged that Ayambem siphoned off 2 percent of all monthly revenue collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), amounting to a staggering N404 million.

“Misappropriation of the sum of N19,437, 844.00 (Nineteen Million, Four Hundred and Thirty-Seven Thousand, Eight Hundred and forty-five Naira) from Local Government deduction and 11 months deductions which he allegedly failed to disclose to members,” the impeachment notice reads.

“Incompetence and wrong conduct of plenary proceedings: Un-parliamentary way of conducting proceedings.

“Appointment of members to move or second motions rather than allowing interested members to raise their hands. Non-compliance with the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law 2021.

“Arbitrary approval of expenditure in flagrant breach of the provisions of Section 9(1) of the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law 2021.

“Approvals beyond the limit which the Speaker can approve contrary to Section 9(10) of the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law 2021.”

The shocking revelations have reverberated across the state, raising questions about accountability and transparency within the corridors of power.

Lawmakers that signed the impeachment notice include Kingsley Ntui, Okon Owuna, Samuel Neji Abang, Cyril James Omini, Stanley Nsemo, Charles Omang Omang.

Others are Thomas Aruku, Eyo Bassey, Bassey Bassey Effiong, Francis Onete Ogban, Victor Nsa, Ovat Agbor, Pius Ashas Ashakia, Martins Achadu, Effiong Ekarika, Egbe Abeng Egbe, and Hilary Bisong.

As the dust settles on this development, the people of Cross River State await further action from the Assembly and demand accountability from their elected representatives.