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Rivers Assembly Passes Chieftaincy Bill …Directs Revenue Board Chairman To Re-Appear

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The Rivers State House
of Assembly has passed the State Chieftiancy and Council of Chiefs  Bill 2014  even as the lawmakers asked the Chairman of the state Internal Revenue Board to reappear before the House with documents that show payment of taxes to the state.
The lawmakers had last Wednesday deferred the debate to yesterday after a heated argument  over the bill and  payment of salaries of traditional rulers occupying ethnic stools.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon Chidi Lloyd noted that what the committee did  was a technical work and said the law as it was now had a lot of mistakes in the classification of chieftaincy stools.
Lloyd said there were stools that existed in local government areas other than where they were domiciled such as Nye we eli Obuduga, which he said appeared under Ikwerre Local Government Area, stressing that what they did as a committee was to ensure that they put all the chieftaincy stools in proper perspective as it is contained in the first schedule of the committee report.
According to him,’’ we also look at some certain thorny areas in the law which also include the ouster of the power of the court from hearing any chieftaincy matter, saying, it was not important to say that no court shall have jurisdiction to entertain chieftaincy matters.
“We identified certain stools in Rivers State  whose jurisdiction extends beyond  local government of origin.
The Amanayabo of Kalabari is the Amanayabo of all Kalabari people both at home and  in the diaspora as the fragmentation of local governments did not elude him not to be allowed to acquire just liabilities that come from those areas where his jurisdiction extends to and recommended that he should enjoy access that comes from those local governments he superintends over.
He warned that they are not making a law targeting an individual, adding that  no occupant of any stool will remain there forever as he urged his colleagues to look at the report dispassionately without bias
The committee recommended that  before a Governor can withdraw certificate of recognition from any First Class Chief or any other Chief, the chief must have been investigated, and given a fair hearing of the case.
Hon Gift Wokacha who represents Ogba Egbema/ Ndoni Constituency 1 commended the committee for a work well done but said the issue present was an issue of law and any law that is made has to stand the test of time.          He said there are issues that must be look in to objectively and critically evaluate them and see whether they are in order..
He said the recommendation that an ethnic stool should receive payments from other local government where his jurisdictions extend to is not feasible

But, In his contribution, Hon Onari Brown, representing Akuku Toru 1 also kicked against the sharing formula and said he was not against the ethnic stool receiving stipends from other Local government where he superdents but the percentage should be lesser that what he gets from his area where he domiciles.
Others who made their contributions includes Hon Sam Eligwe, Hon Ibiso Nwuche, and Hon. Lucky Odili who did not share the same views.
Based on the arguments, the Speaker, Rt.Hon Otelemaba Dan Amaechree divided the house and it was resolved that the bill be passed in to law.

Meanwhile, The Speaker however directed the Clark to inform the executive that the bill has been passed in to law.

The Rivers State House of Assembly has directed the Chairman of  the state Internal Revenue Board, Mrs Onene Osila Obele –Oshoko has been dircted to re appear before the state House of Assembly in the legislative day.

The speake, Rt.Hon Otelemaba Dan-Amaechree directed that Mrs Oshoko to re appear with documents relating to internal revenue generation of the state.

The directive came following the inability of the Chairman of the Internal Revenue Board failure to respond promptly to questions posed to her by the lawmakers

Mrs Obele-Oshoko was directed to appear before the House following the dwindling internal revenue of the state from the average of about  #17billion to #13billion monthly.Those summon along side the Chairman of the Internal Revenue service includes, the commissioner of Finace, Dr Chambelian Peterside, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Revenue Generation, Chief Nwankwo Nwankwo.

The House leader, Hon Chidi Lloyd informed the invitees that the invitation was born out of a motion from the deputy leader who was worried about the dwindling revenue of the state, noted that it was unfortunate that the board Chairman came without preparation

Lloyd disclosed that for the past three years artisants,shop owners have not paid tax to the state government, stating that it has cost the state government very much

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Govs To Hold Virtual Meeting On Judicial, Legislative Autonomy

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The Governors of the 36 states of the federation will hold a virtual meeting today to further discuss the issue of financial autonomy to judicial and legislative arms in states.
This is contained in a statement by NGF Head of Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo on Monday in Abuja.
Bello-Barkindo said efforts were already being made in all states to either constitute State Accounts Allocation Committees (SAAC) or inaugurate them.
This, according to him, is preparatory to the granting of full autonomy to the two arms of government at the subnational level.
The Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) had since embarked on a nationwide strike on the issue.
He said the governors had been working day and night to establish modalities for the autonomy in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.
He said that the governors would also be updated on the activities of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who headed the governors’ interface with the committee.
Bello-Barkindo said that the meeting would also review the agenda of the National Executive Council (NEC), which would take place a day after.
“Other items on the agenda include the regular update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability for results (SFTAS) to provide states’ status on their DLI’s and upcoming deadlines.
The meeting would also receive presentation from the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, regarding unlocking liquidity through sale/optimisation of state-owned redundant/sub-optimal assets,” he said.
He added that the Policy Development Facility (PDF) bridge programme would also discuss diversification and non-oil export opportunities for states in post Covid-19 era.

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2023: PDP Flexes Muscle Over C’ River

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Leading members of the main opposition PDP converged in Calabar, Cross River at the weekend to strategise on how to retain its grip on power in the state.
This is contained in a statement e-mailed to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.
The Tide source reports that the PDP has been in power in Cross River since the return of democracy in the country 22 years ago but the defection of the current governor appears to mark a turning point.
Political pundits argue that the defection of the state Governor Ben Ayade from the PDP to the ruling APC may affect the fortunes of the PDP in the years ahead.
The governor’s departure is now seen as a major test for the PDP in what is now seen as a game of wits between the PDP and the APC.
Addressing the party’s chieftains, the National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, declared that Cross River would “remain the stronghold of the PDP, in spite of Gov. Ayade’s defection.
“PDP will work to retain the confidence the people of Cross River State reposed in our party and retain its dominance in the state.
“Our party has governed since the return of party politics in 1999.
“Cross River will remain the stronghold of our party well after 2023,’’ said Secondus, flanked by other chieftains of the party, including Sen. Bukola Saraki and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
Secondus told PDP members in the state to remain resolute to make the party retain power in the upcoming general elections.
Also speaking, a former governor of the state, Sen. Liyel Imoke, gave assurance that no other party would take the state from the PDP, “being the dominant party in the state.
“PDP is the only party known to our people. I assure the leadership of our party that we will deliver victory in 2023,’’ he stated.
Imoke governed the state from 2007 to 2015 when he handed over to Ayade now of the APC.
Other PDP chieftains, who were present at the event included former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra, former Gov. Donald Duke of Cross River and the Chairman of the party’s Caretaker Committee, Mr Efiok Cobham.
Also present were Hon. Daniel Asuquo, Hon. Etta Mbora and Hon. Essien Ayi, all serving members of the House of Representatives among other party’s chieftains.

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…Vows To Take Over Anambra

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, says the party remains focused to take over the state in the upcoming governorship poll.
Nwobu said this in an interview with newsmen in Awka yesterday, adding that he would not be distracted by those trying to destabilise the party in the state.
He lauded the National Executive Committee of the party for organising successful ward congresses in the state.
He described the success of the exercise as a sure step to the party’s free, fair and credible primary election.
“We want to conduct our primary election, where party people will freely vote and produce a candidate that will be acceptable to Anambra people at the November 6 poll.
“This is not time for distractions. We are focused on taking over government from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
“The party has shortchanged millions of Anambra people in terms of governance.
Nwobu said he remained the valid chairman of PDP in Anambra, having emerged from a valid process that was upheld by a Federal High Court in its May 24, 2018 judgment.
He said the judgment had not been reversed by any higher court and was “unfazed by any court judgment”, which purportedly removed him.
“My leadership is still subsisting, no superior court has set that judgment aside and a court of coordinate jurisdiction cannot do that.
“Our team of legal experts is taking care of that. The decision to appeal will be advised,” the PDP chairman said.
The Tide source reports that Chief Chukwudi Umeaba at the weekend announced that he had taken over the party in the state as the Acting Chairman of the Caretaker Committee.
Umeaba, who announced the suspension of the ward congresses, said his action was predicated on the judgment of an Abuja Federal High Court.
According to him, the judgment delivered on June 9, nullified the process that produced Nwobu’s leadership.

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