The House of Representatives witnessed a rowdy session on Wednesday following the declaration of who becomes the minority leader of the lower chamber.
Trouble started when the House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila decided to abandon a letter by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nominating Kingsley Chinda as Minority Leader.
Gbajabiamila had gone ahead to announce Ndudi Elumelu as Minority Leader which culminated in a protest by members of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP who have the largest minority in the House.
However, Elumelu is also a PDP member but the matter got complicated when an unidentified lawmaker grabbed the mace of the lower chamber thereby plunging the House into confusion.
But reacting to the development, Hon. Chinda who represents Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency vowed to resist any attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to alter the position of the main opposition party in the country.
He wondered why a position agreed by the minority party would be ignored by the House leadership, describing the development as unparliamentary and an ambush.
According to Chinda, “We all agreed that the party should go back among the nominees and choose from amongst them and report back to us. The party did exactly that and we reconvened and received the report of the party and we left satisfied.
“Only for us to attend plenary and see this ambush. It is unfortunate and very unparliamentary. We are not going to take it.
“We must do things properly. We are members of minority party and our leadership will not be determined by the majority party.
“We are aware of the scheming of the APC that the target is that they are going to decimate the minority party in parliament and that they will decide who becomes minority leaders in parliament. We will not allow that to happen,” the federal lawmaker said.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
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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