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MDAs Defend Budgets

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Budget defense sittings and public hearings of the 2018 Appropriation Bill, including those of Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) and Rivers State Government Bills topped proceedings in the Assembly last week.
Last Monday, budget estimate defence sittings by the various Standing Committees began with Ministries of Education, Works and Information taking turns.
Shortly after his budget defence last Tuesday, Special Adviser to the Governor on Amnesty, Mr Ken Chinda told newsmen that his office executed all the projects contained in its budget from 2016 to 2017 with huge success.
Mr Chinda said: “A lot of the training programmes were conducted for those who embraced amnesty. Of course there were those who sincerely repented”. He cited the friends of Jesus in Gokana and another group at Abua in Abua/Oudal Local Government Area that jettisoned their old ways and took to new life. He explained that the 2018 budget is to sustain the success of the Amnesty Programme and lauded security agencies for their support to the scheme.
The House also sat last Tuesday as the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission Bill (HA10) and the Rivers State Local Government Bill (HA9) passed through to committee stage.
Minority Leader of the House, while commenting on the bills during the House debate, observed that the State Local Government Law have been the most amended. Hon Anabraba stressed the need for the law to be compiled into one piece of legislation, so as to make it easy for the law to be accessible and easy for reference.
The same view was held by the Speaker, Rt Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji-Ibani who frowned that in the past, the local government laws have been in piece meals and need to be compiled into one. “As a third tier of government I believe that the bill will re-enact the local government laws, which is very important and is coming at a crucial time for proper administrations”, he said.
The same view was canvassed by legislators on the RSIEC bill of 2018. The major plank of the amendment is to align the electoral law to the Supreme Court Judgement of 2010, which prescribes 90 days and not 14 days as provided by the amendment done by the last Assembly ahead elections.
Budget defence sittings continued last Wednesday and Thursday with various Ministries, Departments and Agencies appearing before the Statutory House Committee. Rivers State Internal Revenue Service, the office of the State Auditor-General and Auditor-General of the Local Government appeared before Committee on Public Accounts and Finance.
The Ministry of Agriculture also defended its budget estimates with the Commissioner, Mr Charles Nwaorgu and key officials defending its capital and recurrent proposals.
The House convened last Friday shortly after it had conducted public sitting on the RSIEC bill 2018. The plenary witnessed the presentation of the various standing committees submitting their reports on the budget proposal.
Not less than 10 standing committees submitted their report on the 2018 Appropriation Bill. After the House rose from sitting, the Committee on Local Government Affairs chaired by Hon Kelechi Nwogu conducted a public hearing on the 2018 LGA bill (HA9). Many stakeholders presented their memoranda, as Hon Nwogu assured that their views would be inputted in the new legislation.

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Anambra:Bill To Abolish Open Grazing Passes Second Reading

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A bill seeking to regulate animal grazing and establish cattle ranches in designated areas of Anambra has scaled second reading in the House of Assembly.
The Majority Leader of the house, Dr Nnamdi Okafor (APGA-Awka South I), said the bill would promote peace and ensure safety of lives and property in the state.
The bill is entitled, ‘Open Grazing of Cattle and other Livestock Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill 2021’.
He said that when the bill becomes law, it would help to curb the incessant herders/farmers clashes and generate business opportunities in the state.
“The bill will be part of the efforts to address the incessant clashes between livestock owners, herders and farmers in the state, which has often led to loss of lives and properties over the years.
“The bill will also prevent the destruction of farms and farmers’ crops brought about by open rearing and grazing of cattle,” Okafor said.
Also, Dr Timothy Ifedioranma (APC-Njikoka l) said the bill would promote the production of healthy breeds of livestock and boost job and investment opportunities in livestock farming.
Mr Chuka Ezewune (APGA-Idemili South) said the bill would also promote modern techniques of animal husbandry and international best practices in the dairy and beef industry.
“The old form of cattle rearing is very destructive to the nation and it is time we embraced change,” Ezewune said.
Contributing, Dr Pete Ibida (APGA-Njikoka II) said his constituents had long clamoured for the law.
“Open grazing has constituted security and safety hazards. It messes up our roads and my constituents have been displaced from their farms.
“I believe the bill will also help to manage the environmental impact of open grazing and protect the environment from degradation and pollution,” Ibida added.
Mr Obinna Emeneka (APGA-Anambra East) said that open grazing contributed to disease transmission and described animals as carriers of parasites transmitted to humans.
Emeneka said the bill required accelerated passage to promote agriculture, security and stability in the state.
The Speaker, Mr Uche Okafor, described the bill as everybody’s business, adding that it bothered on food security, economic development and security of of lives and property.
The bill was later committed to the Committee on Agriculture, headed by Mr John Nwokoye, for further deliberation and the committee was expected to report back on September 30.

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Obaseki Names Cabinet 10 Months Later

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The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Friday released a list of nominees for post of commissioners in the State Executive Council.
This decision is coming close to a year after Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, were inaugurated for a second term into office on November 12, 2020, following their victory in the September 19 governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The governor had re-appointed Osarodion Ogie as the Secretary to the State Government after his inauguration with no other appointment since then.
This led to criticism from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State that accused Obaseki of presiding over the affairs of the state like a sole administrator.
“There are some policies and actions of a state that legally and constitutionally should not be undertaken without the approval of the State Executive Council. As we speak, some of those actions are being taken solely by Godwin Obaseki as a sole administrator. He has not displayed the tendencies of a democratically elected governor,” Chris Azebanmwan, the Edo APC spokesman said.
Nonetheless, the Governor has finally released the list of his nominees. They are: Barr. Osamudiamen Wole-lyamu (Oredo); Mr. Chris Nehikhare (Orhionmwon); Mr. Richard Edebiri (Uhunmwode); Barr. Andrew Emwanta Adaze (Egor); Mr. Tony Aganmwonyi (Ikpoba Okha); Mr. Ethan Uzamere (Ovia South West); Ms. Efosa Uyigue (Ovia North East).
Others are, Barr. Donald Okogbe (Akoko Edo); Barr. Anthony Innih (Etsako East); Mrs. Omo Otse Omorogbe (Etsako West); Hon. Damian Lawani (Etsako Central); Mr. Jimfred Obaidiku (Owan West).
Also in the list are, Barr. J. O. Braimah (Owan East); Hon. Felix Akhabue (Esan West); Fred Emefiele (Igueben); Mrs. Anehita Ojezua-Emeya (Esan Central); Dr. Olu Ayewoh (Esan North East) and Mrs. Magdalene Ohenhen (Esan South East).

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Speaker Lauds Wike On Infrastructure

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The Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani has commended the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, for the rapid development of Rivers State.
He made this statement when he played host to members of the Council For the Regulation of Estate Surveyors and Valuers of Nigeria recently.
Rt. Hon. Ibani assured the Council that the State Assembly would continue to do that which was beneficial to their constituents. He noted that as a public servant, his door was open to all.
He said: “As a public servant, my door is open to all, and at all times. We work in the interest of the State and for the interest of our people….”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Council For The Regulation of Estate Surveyors and Valuers of Nigeria, Gersh Henshaw, commended the efforts of the Speaker as the Head of Rivers State Legislature.
He stated that Rt. Hon. Ibani had continued to maintain a cordial relationship with the Executive arm of Government and the result of such collaboration was the developmental strides in Rivers State.
The Chairman stated that the essence of the visit was to seek partnership with the Rivers State House of Assembly on any new legislation concerning Estate Surveyors and Valuers in Rivers State.
He expressed appreciation to the National President of the Council, Sir Emmanuel Wike for his immense contributions to the success and progress of the profession.
The delegation which was on a courtesy visit to the Rt. Hon. Speaker, was led by its National President, Sir Wike.

By: Kevin Nengia

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