The Rivers State House of Assembly, has adjourned debate indefinitely on the report of its House Committee on Ethics and Privileges on financial impropriety against the Chairman of Ahoada East Local Government.
The adjournment followed a motion yesterday brought by Hon Godstime Horsefall representing Asari -Toru Constituency II and seconded by Hon Azubuike Wanjoku, representing Ikwerre Constituency after arguments for and against the report.
The Tide reports that before the sitting commenced, the Speaker and members held a close door meeting which lasted between 11.45 and 12.40pm.
Opening debate on the report which was the major item on the order paper, Hon Augustine Ngo, representing Abua/Odual, said the petition which resulted in the report, did not comply with the laid down procedures of the Assembly.
The lawmaker cited the House standing order to justify his position, arguing that the petition was merely minuted to the committee chairman to handle in his capacity as chairman of the committee and not for the entire committee to investigate.
Hon Ngo equally opined that the petitioner failed to sign all the pages of the petition as provided by the House rules while the petition did not contain prayers, and therefore failed to meet the requirements of the House.
He, therefore, urged the Speaker to direct that the petition be sent back to the author to enable him comply with due process of the Assembly rules.
Hon Fredrick Anabaraba, representing Akuku-Toru Constituency II, aligned himself with the submissions of Hon Ngo, stressing that despite being a member of the committee and signing the report, the House procedure could not be jettisoned.
Hon Aye Pepple, (Bonny) and Andrew Miller (Opobo/Nkoro), commended the committee for doing a good work but argued that the process was faulty, and urged the House to allow the petition to be rooted properly in line with the House standing order.
On his part, the lawmaker representing Port Harcourt Constituency III, Hon Victor Ihunwo, remarked that the House had adopted the report during the last sitting as a working document of the Assembly and should therefore be debated on its merit.
He commended the Hon Nname Ewor-led committee for doing a thorough job, as did not victimise anybody while urging the Speaker to interprete the House standing order properly because he did not see any problem with the comprehensive report of the committee.
Hon Ihunwo thanked the chairman and members of the committee for justifying the confidence reposed on them, and suggested that the Chairman of Ahoada East, High Chief Cassidy Ikegbidi be suspended to serve as deterrent to other councils chairmen who engage in reckless spending of public funds.
Hon Ikuinyi Ibani, (Andoni) and Godstime Horsfall, (Asari Toru), called on the Assembly not to allow the good work of the committee to suffer based on minor errors, adding that the report was in order and should be debated.
They noted that the issue of procedure was not raised when the committee was given the assignment, as well as when it presented the report which was accepted by the House, wondering why it was at the point of debating the report that the issue of procedure was raised.
Meanwhile, the Speaker, Hon Otelemba Amachreee thanked the committee for a job well done and the members for a robust debate and adjourned the matter indefinitely.