.Move to amend LG law, as bill seeking Assembly financial autonomy passes second reading
.Police accused of providing cover for impunity
Emmanuel Nlewedum, Port Harcourt
A faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly led by Rt. Hon. Martins Amaehwule on Wednesday defiled a Court order restraining both factions of the house from performing legislative functions.
This is as some anti-Fubara lawmakers sat to elect a new Majority Leader and Chief Whip of the 10th Rivers Assembly under tight security presence, despite the court order.
Recall that there was an aborted attempt by some lawmakers led by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martins Amaehwule, loyal to the FCT Minister, Barr. Nyesom Wike, on Monday 30th October, to impeach the State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, after removing the Majority Leader of the house, Hon. Ehie Edison.
Since then, the Assembly has been factionalised with ousted house leader, Edison Ehie emerging Speaker to another faction of lawmakers loyal to Governor Fubara.
Following the crisis, a State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt issued an order restraining both factions of the house from carrying out any legislative functions until
But the Martins Amaehwule’s faction on Monday sat and elected Hon. Major Jack, the Member representing Akuku Toru Constituency 1 as Majority Leader and Hon. Frankline Nwabochi, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, as the new Whip of the House; the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
The lawmakers also gave first reading to a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018 and other matters connected thereto.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, after the Bill scaled through second reading.
Commenting on the Bill, the factional Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule harped on the importance of the Bill and stated his conviction that when passed the Governor will give his assent to the Bill.
The hinted that the Governor, Sir Siminialayi Fubara has withheld the funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November, 2023; but stated the resolve of the House to perform its constitutional function despite the distractions, and referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
Meanwhile, the decision of the Martins Amaehwule led lawmakers to disobey subsisting court order has been heavily criticized by Civil Society Organizations.
Spokesperson of the CSO in the state, Comrade Solomon Lenu hinted that the move is capable of creating anarchy in the state.
He wondered why lawmakers who where meant to be making laws are now the ones trying to cause anarchy in the state.
Similarly, some youths in the state has lambasted the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, CP Olatunji Disu for providing cover for the anti-Fubara lawmakers to disobey orders from court of competent jurisdiction.
They youths called on the Inspector General of Police, to call the CP to order and caution him against taking sides in the political crisis rocking the state, but should be apolitical and professional in his duties.