Proceedings in the Rivers State House of Assembly commenced in full force last week with a plenary on Thursday.
This however, followed oversight functions by the different committees including the House Committee on Public Accounts/Finance jointly chaired by Hon. Major Jack, who is also the Deputy House Whip.
In the past two weeks, the committee had grilled over 12 Ministries, Departments and Parastatals (MDAs) on budget implementation.
Also within the period under review, the House Committee on Judiciary chaired by Hon. Sam Ogeh carried out oversight function, where they met with the State Chief Judge, Justice Iyaye Laminkara.
During the visit penultimate week, Justice Laminkara intimated the committee of challenges in the judiciary.
The Chief Judge related that the judiciary was enjoying its status with budgetary releases and welfare packages at due time unlike before. On the other hand, she disclosed that the major challenge of the arm of government was poor security and personnel.
Meanwhile, last week, the House recovened after brief recess following political activities in the various constituencies ahead the 2019 elections.
During the plenary presided over by the Speaker, Rt Hon. Ikuinyi Owaji Ibani, five bills were given first reading on the floor of the House, they include: The Rivers State Health Care Facilities bill, which seeks to repeal the Hospital Management Law of 1999. The Rivers State Heritage Reservation Bill 2018, Rivers State Multi Tour Court House bill 2018, Rivers State Community Development Committees bill 2018.
Among the bills presented, three were private members bills. Hon Tekona Wellington of Asari-Toru II initiated the State Heritage Preservation Bill and Rivers State Community Development Committee Bill 2018.
The law maker from Asari-Toru while explaining the objective behind the bill said the Heritage Preservation bill is aimed at promoting tourism and protect values and culture of the people.
For the newly promoted Rivers State Community Development Committees bill, Hon. Wellington explained that it will help engender peace and development in the local communities as regards Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) signed between them and companies in their areas.
With a legal backing to the MOUs, the lawmaker believed that both the communities and the multinationals will be held accountable by law.
Consequently, the Kalabari National College has listed Hon. Wellington for honours as part of its 80th anniversary. The lawmaker is to be honoured alongside other dignitaries for their contributions in maintaining and sustaining the name of the college over the years.
It is against this backdrops that Hon. Wellington announced last week of expanding his scholarship programme to cover all students of SS III, who are about to write their Senior School Examinations. This is in addition to a modern Computer, Information Centre he built in the college two years ago.
Gbajabiamila Wants Assemblies To Rescue LG System
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged State Houses of Assembly to save the Local Government Area system in Nigeria from imminent collapse through its instrument of law making.
The speaker made the appeal at the opening of a one-day round-table with Speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Lagos yesterday.
Declaring the round-table open, Gbajabiamila, represented by Mr Idris Wase, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, said a revitalised local government system would bring about effective governance.
He said that for a more robust 9th Aassembly, there was need for State Houses of Assembly to invest in knowledge acquisition by running short and long term courses in areas such as budget implementation and related programmes so that through oversight engagements, they could insist on real value for money on contracts awarded for the well-being of citizens in whose mandate they stood.
Gbajabiamila disclosed that the National Assembly would commence its process on the work of its constitutional review committee.
“In that process, there will be need for synergy between the NASS and State Houses of Assembly.
“There is need for caution. The caution lies in our collective efforts to ensure that the work of lawmakers, be it in state or national, do not suffer any infringement.
“We must not only be seen to be working but work in a way that our work will speak for us. Of particular note is the need to point out the sanctity of the National Assembly do not suffer any infringement,” Gbajabiamila said.
He commended the organisers of the round-table, saying the timing was apt given that the 9th National Assembly was just concluding it’s preparation for proper take off in its four years duration.
In a goodwill message, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislators of Nigeria, urged relevant stakeholders to intensify efforts toward implementation of the constitutional provision of financial autonomy to state legislature and judiciary with a view to strengthening democracy.
“It is well over a year that President Muhammadu Buhari gave assent to financial autonomy for both state legislature and judiciary in the last constitution review,” the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly said.
Obasa, represented by Mr Abel Peter Dia, Taraba Speaker, urged the lawmakers to be active participants in the round-table.
Also, the Oyo State Speaker, Mr Adebola Ogundoyin, said the lawmakers as democrats want the laws implemented which was part of the reasons for the round-table.
“There are a lot of local government areas issues. We intend to resolve them once and for all and all arms of government.must sit to agree on the implementation,” he said.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Director of National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, organisers of the round-table, said the conference was the first since the 2019 election.
He said the lawmakers had enormous responsibilities to the Nigerian people in the spheres of ensuring good governance, providing a forum for grassroots representation and oversights.
Kwara Assembly Dissolves Three Agencies
The Kwara House of Assembly yesterday dissolved three statutory commissions inaugurated by the last administration.
The three dissolved commissions are the Kwara State Civil Service Commission, Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWASElC) and the state Assembly Service Commission.
The dissolution followed a request by GovernorAbdulRahman AbdulRasaq in his correspondences to the House read on the floor of the House read by the Speaker, Danladi Yajubu-Salihu.
The governor, in his three messages requesting the approval of the House for the removal of Chairmen and members of the three statutory commissions, said he relied on Section 201 Sub-section one and two of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said that the chairmen and members of the commissions had been given fair bearing, but found them incapable of discharging their statutory functions as a result of gross misconducts.
The Speaker directed the Clerk of the House, Hajia Halimah Perogi, to conduct voting for members on the request of the governor .
The voting indicated that the required two-third majority supported the removal of the chairmen and members of the three commissions.
According to the governor’s message, the members of the Kwara State Civil Service Commission were Alhaji Sakariyah Onimago (Chairman), Samuel Bamisaiye, a member, Alhaji Sharook Mohammed, a member and AbdulSalam Agbaje-Opobiyi,a member.
Those removed at the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWASEC) were Eleja Taiwo-Banu (Chairman), Jimoh Gabriel-Yemi, a member, Nasuru Ayo-Lawal, a member, lssa Abdul-Kayode, a member, Dr Dele Kayode, a member, Saidu lssa-Abdulllahi, a member, and Adesina Mohammed, a member.
The members of the dissolved Kwara State Assembly Service Commission are former Speaker of the Kwara Assembly, Babatunde Mohammed, Nimota Aduke-lbrahim, Atolagbe Alege, Babako Mohammed and Alex Bankole.
The Speaker directed the clerk to communicate the dissolution of the three statutory commissions to the governor.
Dep Gov’s Impeachment: Kogi Assembly Urges CJ To Constitute Panel
The Kogi State House of Assembly has requested the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, to constitute a seven-man Panel of Inquiry to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor of the state, Elder Simon Achuba.
The Assembly made the request in a resolution reached at plenary yesterday in Lokoja, following the adoption of a motion by the Majority Leader, Abdullahi Bello-Balogun (APC-Ajaokuta).
The motion called for an investigation into the allegations, which is a second step toward impeachment of the public officer.
Presenting the motion, Bello-Balogun said the motion was sequel to issuance of a Notice of Allegations to the deputy governor on August 8, 2019.
He explained that the deputy governor evaded service of the Notice of Allegations on him and also directed that none of his aides should receive any correspondence from the Assembly on his behalf.
Bello-Balogun said that the prayers calling for investigation in the motion were in line with Section 188(3) which stipulated that the House should resolve by motion, supported by not less than two-third of members, to request the Chief Judge to set up the seven-man panel to investigate the allegations.
According to him, the deputy governor’s open vilification of Governor Yahaya Bello and the State Government as well as the alleged discrete and open support for candidates of the opposition parties during the Presidential, National and State Assembly elections in February and March, amounted to gross misconduct.
Supporting the motion, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Mohammed (APC-Ankpa), described the situation as worrisome and the motion as appropriate.
Mohammed said that the seven-man committee should be made up of persons of impeccable character as outlined in the country’s constitution.
Ruling on the motion, the Speaker, Prince Matthew Kolawole, said questions as to ascertain the number of members who supported the adoption of the motion was 19 and more than the required number of 17 members
Kolawole, therefore, directed the House to communicate to the Chief Judge to within seven days constitute a panel to investigate the deputy governor.
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