The Rivers State House of Assembly has screened and confirmed the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN) as commissioner – designate.
The Assembly also screened and confirmed chairmen and members of caretaker committees for two additional local government areas of the state.
Te screening and confirmation of the nominees yesterday followed the request letter by the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike and read by the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani at the Assembly’s plenary session in Port Harcourt.
The CTC Chairmen screened and confirmed include Mr Oladipo Ogu, Chairman-designate for Abua/Odual LGA and Mr Charles Chima Orlu for Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
Unlike CTC chairmen and members who were thoroughly drilled by the members of the Assembly, the Commissioner- designate, Mr Emmanuel Aguma was only asked to take a bow and go.
According to the Speaker of the House, the former Attorney General had performed excellently as Commissioner for Justice and that his credentials and track record before the House still remained intact to qualify him for approval by the Assembly.
However, the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani appealed to the Commissioner- designate to look into a situation where tyres are used by butchers in burning of meat and carry out a serious investigation with a view to fashioning out a legal framework as a measure to curb the menace, if assigned the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice portfolio.
Ibani in the same vein, urged the Chairmen and members of the Caretaker Committees to take the development of the grassroots very seriously, saying that the Assembly would ensure that any chairman or member who does not perform to the expectation of the people would be recommended for immediate sack.
He said local government administration was serious business, stressing that the Assembly would not condone recklessness on the part of the Caretaker Committee chairmen and members, as such would attract severe sanctions.
The Speaker directed the Clerk of the House to forward a letter of confirmation to the Office of the Governor for their swearing-in.
Meanwhile, The Rivers State House of Assembly yesterday drilled the Managing Director of Halliurton Energy Services, Mr Henry Okey and the Human Resources Manager of the company, Mrs Ijeoma Suzzy over alleged systematic discrimination of Rivers State indigenes working in the company.
The Managing Director and the Human Resources Manager appeared before the Assembly in Port Harcourt to defend the petition from some sacked staff of the company, accusing the management of the company of alleged unlawful dismissal of some indigenes of the state in the company’s managerial cadre, particularly one Barrister Azubuike Ogah without any compensation.
In the petition read and presented to the House by the Leader of the House, Hon Martins Amaewhule, the company’s management was also accused of only engaging indigenes of the state as contract staff while non-indigenes were employed as permanent staff of the company which is operating in the State.
The petition further accused the management of retiring Rivers indigenes without following the requisite and laid down conditions, an act purportedly deployed to intentionally rob Rivers persons of managerial positions in the company.
In response, the Managing Director of Halliburton Energy Services, Mr. Henry Okey denied the allegations, insisting that the company only retrenched three Rivers indigenes including one Mr Azuibuike Ogah, who was in charge of the Legal Department of the company as at early this year.
According to him, Rivers indigenes working in the company were 98 out of a total of 500 employees in the company.
The managing director also said that out of 25 persons in the top managerial cadre of the company, only one person was an indigene of Rivers State, nine persons from South-West geo-political zone, seven from South-East while five were expatriates and the other three were from states in the South-South geo-political zone.
The Managing Director further stressed that the company since 2015 till date had retrenched over 131 staff from both managerial and low cadres including contract staff, but he could not give accurate number of Rivers indigenes so far sacked by the company.
He said retrenchment of staff in the company was based on shortfalls in the company’s outputs and that the productivity of the staff was also taken into consideration.
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani expressed the Assembly’s dissatisfaction with Mr Okey’s explanation.
The Assembly therefore resolved that the management of the company should reappear before the House armed with documents showing the redundancy policy of the company, its nominal roll, list of the 25 staff on the top managerial cadre and a document to furnish the House with the conditions for retirement as well names of those retired or retrenched in the company.
The House also urged the company to withhold any further retrenchment of Rivers indigenes in the company and admonished the management to do anything to ensure that the indigenes of the state occupy managerial positions in the company.