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Ex-Speakers Seek Retirement Benefits

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Former speakers of states’
Houses of Assembly in the country have called for the inclusion of retirement benefits for them in the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution.
The group, known as the National Association of Former Speakers of States’ Houses of Assembly, made the call at its meeting in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Chairman of the association, Rep. Friday Itulah, said that the demand was necessary so that the members would enjoy same benefits as heads of executive and judiciary arms of government.
Itula, who is a member of the House of Representatives, also said that the group was committed toward supporting the bid for speakership of the lower chamber of the National Assembly of Rep. Pally Iriase (Edo-APC).
He explained that the association took the decision to support Iriase in its determination to deepen democracy in the country.
According to him, Iriase has the requisite knowledge and experience needed to lead the House of Representatives in the 8th Assembly.
“All of us are in support of any of our members becoming the speaker of the House of Representatives.
“We all know that if you have been a presiding officer at the state level, you will be able to do it better at the national level because it is the same principles that are involved.
“If you are able to carry your members along successfully at the state level, chances are that at the national level, you will be able to do it very well.
“Experience as they say is the best teacher; for us, we are in full support,” Itula stated.
It would be recalled that Iriase, on Monday in Abuja, declared his intension to contest for the speakership of the 8th Assembly of the house.
The meeting was attended by 16 members from Niger, Ondo, Edo, Nasarawa, Delta, Kogi, Cross Rivers, Sokoto, Abia, Imo, Anambra and Bauchi.

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Bayelsa 2019 Guber Primaries: Again, Diri Floors Alaibe, As Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the appeal filed by former managing Director of the NDDC and governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 Bayelsa State Governorship primaries, Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, challenging the emergence of Governor Duoye Diri as the party’s standard bearer.

A panel constituted of Five Justices of the apex court headed by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour stroke-out the appeal.

Alaibe’s  counsel, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe, withdrew the appeal after the panel members pointed his attention to the fact that the issues raised in the appeal were not about the primary election but about an internal affair of the party.

Alaibe, who had lost the suit at both the Federal High Court in Owerri and the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, had in the suit challenged the participation of two delegates who voted in the primary that produced Diri as the party’s Governorship flag bearer.

Meanwhile in the preliminary inquiry preceding the hearing on Tuesday, the Justice Rhodes-Vivour panel informed Adedipe that his case could not be categorised as a pre-election case that a court could entertain but about an internal affair of the party which the court lacks jurisdiction to hear, this The Tide learnt made Adedipe to withdrew the suit and was struck out by the court.

By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.

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Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.

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With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.

The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″  according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.

The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi  Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.

” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the  Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.

“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.

” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.

He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.

In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.

The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.

By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.

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COVID-19: Dep Speaker Empowers PPE Producers, Underprivileged In Ahoada East LGA …Ready To Partner UNICEF

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The Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie, has stated that his office has contributed to ensuring that the impact of the hardship warranted by effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is lessoned in Ahoada East Local Government Area (LGA).
Ehie, who was speaking to the RCCE Media Team, stated that the measures taken to achieve this came in two-fold: providing necessary finance to producers of Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) in the area to enable them mass produce, and buying same off them to give to people in the grassroots.
The other measure, he said, was the provision of financial Palliatives to the tune of #5,000 each to identified underprivileged in the LGA. This include the elderly, pregnant women, widows and widowers, and generally the vulnerable.
According to Ehie, towards this end, about #5 million has been expended so far in the first phase, while preparation is being made for the next phase to commence.
The Deputy Speaker explained that his decision to empower people who already have the expertise to produce the PPEs was necessitated by the need to provide the finance for them to mass produce their products, and to provide the products to those who need them.
“So, we give you (them) the  finance to produce hand sanitizers, face masks, etc., then we buy them from you (them) to make sure you (they) profit, then we supply (the products) to the people at the grassroots”, he said.
He also stated his preparedness to partner with UNICEF in any way required to ensure the safety of lives of Rivers people.
Ehie revealed that in addition to what is being done, his office is also preparing for the challenges of post COVID-19 among the people of his constituency.
“We’ve started brainstorming on how we can also support the people as regards the post COVID-19 era. That is going to be another very challenging period for our people because when the pandemic gradually phases out, that’s when the reality of hardship will come on.
“We’re trying to put our heads together to see how we can intervene again at that stage”, he said.
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