After about three weeks of jostling from one court to another almost on daily basis following the detention of the Leader of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, on July 23
rd 2013 and the Climax of his release on bail on August 7, 2013, parliamentary new hounds have experiencing news drought. No thanks to the lingering crisis in the spite Assembly.
Attention on Assembly reportage shifted to the Judicial Commission of Enquiry set up by the State Government to among other things identify the remote and immediate causes of the July 9, 2013 fracas on the floor of the Assembly.
The Commission had its second sitting on Monday what it called “full-scale hearing” on all memoranda received from stakeholders on Thursday, August 15, 2013.
Chairman of the Commission, Justice Biobele Georgewill, explained that the 48 – hour extension of the deadline for submission of memoranda by interested parties in the matter was sequel to numerous requests from members of the society, who called for the extension to enable them submit their memoranda.
Goergewill assured that the Commission would be open and listen to all irrespective of their leanings in order to give fair hearing to all parties in the matter.
He reaffirmed that the Commission was a fact finding one, not meant to witch-hunt anybody, adding that it would not send anyone to prison since its sole desire is to find the truth in what may have triggered the crisis.
When the Commission reconvened on Thursday, it took three key decisions: the first was to invite the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Mbu J. Mbu, the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, the State PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah and other interested parties to appear before it.
The second was to publish all memoranda received in a local newspaper based in Port Harcourt, while the third was a reaffirmation to be fair in its activities.
The next day (Friday), a High Court presided over by Justice Liyayi Amankara, ruled that the Commission should suspend its activities. The court ruling followed a motion filed by a member of the State House of Assembly, and one of the anti-Amaechi five, Hon. Victor Ihunwo, who prayed the court to restrain the Commission from carrying out its mandate. His reason was that the Commission might be biased due to its constitution.
While giving the ruling, the presiding Judge explained that the composition of the Commission is against the laws of separation of powers and the law of natural justice, which states that one cannot be a judge in his own case.
The court also ordered the Rivers State government or any of its agencies to stay action from implementing any report from the commission.
Counsel to Hon. Ihunwor, the complainant, Dike O. explained further that “our case essentially was that the constitution and composition of the Judicial Commission of enquiry was not such as to secure its independence and neutrality as required by the fair hearing provisions of the 1999 constitution.
“Fortunately for us, the learned trial judge agreed that the the way the Commission was constituted is not such as to secure its independence and neutrality, principally because the Governor, himself, was present throughout the entire disturbances in the House of the Assembly, and so he cannot now be a judge in his own case by setting up a Commission of enquiry”.
Reacting to the ruling, Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Leyii Kwanee, called for calm while they study the court order restraining the commission from carrying out its function. He said after consulting with their lawyers, they will appeal the judgement.
In the same vein, Hon. Ihunwor reacted to the judgement declaiming it as a landmark judgment. According to him, “it shows that the Judiciary is the hope of the common man”.
Hon. Ihunwor, however, noted that all the five anti-Amaechi lawmakers are ready to make peace.
‘Reps Passed 88 Bills In Two Years’
The House of Representatives has passed 88 bills out of 1407 bills in the past two years, its spokesperson, Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) has said.
The House clocked two years on June 11 and has two years left.
Mr Kalu had earlier released different data on the status of legislative activities. However, The Tide source is yet to independently verify this latest data.
Mr Kalu had claimed that the House considered 853 bills and 41 of them passed, in the previous statement.
According to the new statement released on Friday, a total of 554 bills were introduced between June 2020 and June 2021. It was a sharp decline considering that the House introduced 853 bills between June 2019 and June 2020.
Although the decline could be blamed on the outbreak of Covid-19.
“The accurate number of bills considered by the 9th House of Representatives as of June 10, 2021 is 1407 out of which the House has passed 88 bills.
“Additionally, the accurate number of motions considered by the 9th House of Representatives as of June 10, 2021, is 730 out of which the House has made 98 resolutions on security issues.”
The data released by the lawmaker shows that while the introduction of bills has been easy, the progression of bills has been very slow.
A total of 942 bills are awaiting second reading, only 327 bills have been referred to committees, and 79 are awaiting committee of the whole consideration.
Within the same period, 730 motions were considered by the House. However, out of the 663 referred to committees, only 40 reports have been laid, and only six have been considered by the House.
Legislative activities suffered a great deal in 2020 due to the breakout of Covid-19. The National Assembly was shut down for about two months between March 2020 and May 2020.
At a point, the plenary was reduced to once a week.
However, the lawmakers did not help the situation by embarking on holidays at the slightest opportunity, thereby missing deadlines on passage of key legislation.
Also, a review of the legislative agenda of the House by The Tide source shows that the lawmakers are far behind in fulfilling their agenda.
Accord To Contest In 12 LGAs
Accord Party plans to contest only in 12 local government councils and 37 local council development areas at the July 24 council polls in Lagos State.
Its Publicity Secretary, Dele Oladeji, told newsmen in Lagos, yesterday that the party chose to contest only in its areas of strength rather than dissipate energy across the state.
He said Accord Party would contest chairmanship and councillorship seats in Somolu, Mushin, Odi-Olowo, Igando-Ikotun, Agbado Okeodo, Agege, Alimosho, Apapa, Lagos Mainland, Ikorodu, Oshodi/Isolo, and Ifako-Ijaiye LGAs/LCDAs.
Oladeji said that the party had a good outing in these councils at the last council elections in 2017.
“We are set for the election and we are competing in our local governments of strength where we won in 2017.
“We are set to repeat the same feat and even win more than the eight councillorship seats we won in 2017 to become the only opposition party in the local government administration in Lagos State,’’ he said.
Oladeji said that the party was ready to go to court wherever its mandate was stolen as it did in 2017 local government elections.
“As against 2017 when we went to court only in few areas to get back our rigged mandate, this year, we will go to court in any number of local government areas where our mandate is perceived to have been stolen through rigging.
“As the only opposition party in the local government’s administration of Lagos State, we have retained the abiding hope of Lagos residents as the alternative party.”
Okorocha Cautions Igbos On Secession
The Senator representing Imo West, Rochas Okorocha, has cautioned the South-East against their agitations for Nigeria’s breakup.
Okorocha warned that Igbos would be the worst hit if Nigeria breaks up.
The former Imo State Governor spoke in Abuja while addressing some women groups yesterday.
Okorocha stressed that the South- East should push towards fixing the country and not its disintegration.
The lawmaker stressed that Igbos are nationalistic in nature, hence they should dismiss the urge for Nigeria’s disintegration.
He said: “It is only an Igbo man that goes to a place and remains put in that place, buys a land and builds a house for his family without feeling insecure. The Igbos will lose more if Nigeria divides.
“Most Nigerian leaders who were successful had one thing or the other to do with the Igbos. It is either they married Igbo women or had some links with them. I can call names like, former President, Obasanjo; former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Buba Marwa, just to name a few”.
South-East groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereignty State of Biafra, MASSOB, have been agitating for the disintegration of Nigeria.
IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu has been in the forefront, calling for Biafra’s actualisation.
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