The Rivers State House of Assembly is yet to commence sitting in plenary after the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The House had taken a short break few days to the Christmas and New year celebrations as it ended activities last year with the passage of the 2020 budget.
Shortly after passing the bill into law, the lawmakers proceeded to present it for the governor’s assent after which they got their official car presentations by the State Chief Executive at the Government House.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi -Owaji Ibani hailed the governor for the gesture and further pledged collaborative support to the executive arm.
Consequently, lawmakers commended the governor for the car gift and promised to ensure that legislative activities will be enhanced in the coming year.
Recall that the governor, Chief Nyesom Wike presented a budget of over five hundred and thirty billion naira(N530billion) to the Assembly for the 2020 Fiscal Year on 17th December, 2019.
The governor told the Assembly that the focus of the budget was to enhance his infrastructural drive and speed up the state’s growth process.
Wike, while explaining the budget breakdown and sectoral allocations, said capital expenditure would take three hundred and seventy four billion naira whereas one hundred and fifty six billion would be for recurrent expenditure.
According to the governor, the State’s budget for 2020 tagged ‘Budget of Reassurance’ was fifty billion naira higher than the 2019 budget and was expected to generate more growth in the economy of the state.
In response, the Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon.Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani commended Wike for ensuring that the budget estimate would focus more on the real sectors of the economy and promised him of more cordial relationship of the Assembly with the Executive arm.
Few weeks before Christmas, the Assembly Adhoc Committee on Violence Against Persons bill (VAP)2019 held a public hearing.
In the same vein, one of the initiators of the bill and Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule said the bill is an offshoot of an earlier one passed by the National Assembly but with a variation to reflect the realities in the state.
Stakeholders made up of women groups and other non- governmental organisations attended the hearing held at the Assembly complex.
Chairman of the Adhoc Committee, Hon. Enemi George Alabo said the forum was organised to get public input and ensure the bill meets public expectation.
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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