The relative peace which the upper and the lower chambers of the National Assembly had enjoyed so far over the Constitution Amendment assignment is already being threatened as the leadership of the senate, yesterday, accused the Speaker of the House of Representatives of mischief as he called for withdrawal of the copies of the amended constitution already transmitted to the state Assemblies.
Speaker Bankole Dimeji had accused the leadership of the Senate of transmitting a doctored version (which he called the Senate version)of the document instead of the harmonized version as agreed upon by both chambers.
Consequently, he has directed Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa to withdraw the amendments transmitted to the states Houses of Assembly and replace with the ‘genuine’ harmonised version.
In a handover ceremony held on June 15th in Abuja, President of the Senate and Chairman of the National assembly, Senator David Mark had handed over the said harmonized version of amended constitution to the Chairman of the Speakers Conference of Nigeria, Mr. Istifanus Gbana.
Reacting to the Speakers order, Mark described the decision of the House leadership as mischievous and unacceptable.
His words: “There is no need for anyone to go to the media asking the CNA to withdraw what was sent to the Houses of Assembly. Anyone going about saying that they should withdraw the documents is certainly wrong and nothing will be withdrawn. This is the height of mischief.
“It is wrong to go to the media to say that the version transmitted to the states is the Senate version.”
For clarity, Senator Mark said, the National Assembly transmitted all the three documents including the Senate, House and the harmonised version .
Expressing disappointment over the House leadership’s decision, Mark added, “The more mature way to go about this is to have gone through the Deputy Senate President who is chairman of the constitution amendment process in the National Assembly.”
Deputy Senate President and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Review, Senator Ike Ekweremadu coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, denied claim by the House that the Senate sent a doctored version of the Constitution amendment to the Houses of Assembly.
His words “I want to assure my colleagues and Nigerians that what was sent to the Houses of Assembly was essentially the harmonised version of the Constitution amendment. If there is any confusion at any point, I believe it must be deliberate and meant to frustrate the exercise.
“And I believe the problem must be either from the state assembly clerk or from the printers. I congratulate the Kogi State House of Assembly for becoming the first state to pass the harmonised Constitution amendment.”
Senate’s spokesperson, Chairman Senate Committee on Information and Media, Senator Ayogu Eze who is also a member of the Constitutional Amendment Committee also faulted the House’ accusation.
”Our attention has been drawn to a news story making the rounds that the constitutional alteration bill sent to the state Houses of Assembly is not the harmonised version.
“This cannot be true because the three documents the secretariat was asked to transmit to the various houses are as follows- 1. A copy of the harmonised version; 2. A table showing the two versions passed by the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, and 3. A copy of the report of the conference (harmonisation) committee of both chambers. We are therefore at a loss where the mix up, if any, would have arisen from,Senator Eze said.
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi (Abuja)
One Year Anniversary: Governor Wike Sues For Unity
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on Rivers people no matter their political affiliation to join hands with his administration to build a stable and vibrant economy.
In a state-wide broadcast to mark the first year of his second term in office today, Governor Wike noted that the state can overcome the present global economic situation if citizens come together in unity of thought and purpose.
“Yes, we can if we resolve to downplay our individual differences and work together for the common good of our heritage, our lovely State, our communities and our people. As a government, we welcome constructive criticisms devoid of politics and mischief, because they serve to make us better performers.
“This is a time for governance, not politics, and we welcome everyone on board to create an environment that promotes balanced economic growth, thriving private investments, boundless opportunity and a State we can truly call our pride and heritage.
“For us, nothing matters more than Rivers State, our people, our interests, our treasures, our enormous resources and assets, our accomplishments and our greatness,” he stated.
The Governor pointed out that within the last one year, his administration had embarked on urban renewal programme in the State capital and the construction of the multi-billion naira three flyover projects at Rebisi, Okoro-nu-Odo and Rumuogba.
He said that the dualization of Kira- Sapkenwa-Bori-Kono Road straddling three local government areas in Ogoni heartland has reached 92 percent completion.
The Oyibo(Mbano camp) road to Iriebe linking Oyigbo and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas had been completed while Alesa-Agbonchia-Oyigbo, Rumuakunde/Isiodu and the second phase of Isiokpo community Roads had also been completed.
Rumuji-Ibaa-Isiokpo, Omoku-Egbema, Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye, Ula Ehuda-Odioku-Anwunugboko-Ubeta-Ihuechi-Odiereke, Umueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Umuelechi-Eberi, Eteo-Sime-Nonwa and Abonnema Ring Roads have reached various stages of completion.
In addition, the governor said, work has commenced on the expansion of the entire stretch of Ikwerre Road from Education Bus Stop to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
According to him, the long abandoned roads to the coastal communities of Opobo and Andoni in Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni Local Government Areas has almost been delivered with appreciable work already done on the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road.
On healthcare delivery, the governor said the Mother and Child Hospital has been furnished, equipped and only undergoing necessary testing and preparations for commissioning.
The Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, he said, has been fully equipped and converted to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) leading to the accreditation of the programmes of that facility for the training of medical students by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
Governor Wike stated that the regional referral hospitals in Degema, Bori and Degema are presently being equipped while structural work is on-going on the ones located in Omoku and Etche.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that funds had been released for comprehensive upgrade of Enitonnia High School, Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri, Obama High School, Degema, Community Secondary School, Tombia, Community Secondary School, Omuanwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area and Kalabari National College, Buguma.
Others include, Community Secondary School, Kugbo in Abua/Odual Local Government, Community Secondary School, Obeakpu in Oyigbo Local Government and Community Secondary School, Eteo in Eleme Local Government Area.
On Real Madrid Academy, Governor Wike announced that the construction of students’ hostels is progressing and that the school would soon open for simultaneous football and related training programmes.
He said in line with the promise to refocus on agricultural development, the Datco Cassava Processing Plant with a guaranteed off-market opportunities for 3000 local cassava farmers would soon be completed to stimulate cassava revolution in the state.
The governor regretted that despite the advisories and regulations on social distancing and compulsory wearing of face masks, most residents are flouting the directives to the collective peril of all.
“These are all irresponsible and risky behaviour in the face of the invisible and ravaging pandemic and the enormous threat it poses to public health and the safety of human lives.
“We shall bring the full weight of the law to bear on every recalcitrant person, business or institution, irrespective of status who decides to treat the existing orders and regulations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our State with contempt.
“Government may be forced to reinstate lockdown if members of the public continue to flout and disregard the established regulations on social distancing and the compulsory wearing of face masks,” he said.
Governor Wike however, commiserated with the families of those that lost their loved ones to the pandemic and prayed for the peaceful repose of their innocent souls.
He said that while we pray for the quick success, for the global search, for vaccines, the responsibility still rests on everyone to strictly comply with the established mitigating measures.
A Statewide Broadcast By His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS, To Mark The First Year Of His Second Term In Office …My Dear Good People of Rivers State
Rivers State Set To Inaugurate Cassava Plant …To Employ 4,500 Persons
The Rivers State Cassava Processing Company located at Afam, Oyigbo Local Government Area will soon come on stream.
Governor Nyesom Wike who stated this Thursday after inspecting the plant, pointed out that the company when fully operational would employ 4,500 persons and also boost agriculture in the state.
He stated that the State Government has 70 percent equity share in the project which is in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company(SPDC) of Nigeria.
“We are quite happy that this project which was initiated by the previous administration in 2012 and abandoned has come to the stage of completion.
“When we came on board and saw the usefulness of this project to our economy, we did not hesitate to release funds to complete it.
“As you can see this project which is about 90 percent complete would have been commissioned this month if not for the COVID-19 pandemic which has negatively impacted global economy.
“Let me commend the management of this plant for fast-tracking the completion and the novel initiative that will use mobile machines to collect cassava from the farmers at their various clusters.
“This, will no doubt, reduce the challenge of logistics and increase farmer participation, ” the governor stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the Rivers State Cassava Processing Company, Ruben Giesen noted that the cassava processing plant when completed would increase income for small holder farmers by providing an enabling environment for them to sell their cassava tubers.
He also disclosed that the plant would produce about 45 thousand metric tons of cassava flour daily while about 12 thousand metric tons of cassava tubers would be needed for collection by its mobile plants from farmers around the state for processing.
Mr. Giesen commended the State Governor for embarking on the project, which he described as the first of its kind in sub-saharan Africa.
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