The Anambra State House of Assembly on Wednesday directed the Commissioner of Police in the state to arrest two businessmen over their alleged refusal to honour the summons of the legislature
The lawmakers had summoned Messers Osita Agina and Kenneth Okigbo of Oyitraco Limited and M & E Enterprise respectively to appear before its committee over their alleged involvement in illegal excavation and mining in the state.
The resolution for the CP to execute a warrant of arrest on the businessmen followed a motion raised by Mr Lawrence Ezeudu (Dunukofia), under matters of urgent public importance at plenary, on Wednesday.
Ezeudu said that on June 2, the House set up a Special Taskforce Committee with the aim of checkmating unauthorised excavation and illegal mining within the state.
He said that the taskforce discovered that Messers Osita Agina and Kenneth Okigbo of Oyitraco Limited and M & E Enterprise respectively, were behind the unauthorised excavation of laterite, sharp sand and stones as well as illegal mining within the state.
According to him, the unauthorised excavation and illegal mining were being carried out in Anambra South, Anambra Central and Anambra North Senatorial Zones.
Ezeudu, who is also the Chairman of the Special Taskforce Committee, said the two individuals refused to honour the invitation to appear before the committee and explain their roles.
“We were shocked at the utter disregard to the five different invitations and refusal by the above mentioned persons to appear before the committee.
” These persons did not even show any reasonable cause to excuse their absence as provided by Section 129 (1) d of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended),’’ he said.
Ezeudu said that the provisions of Section 129 (1) and (2) of the Constitution empowered the State House of Assembly to issue a warrant of arrest to be executed by the Police to compel the attendance of any person before the House or any of its committee.
“I am convinced that the issuance of an arrest warrant will secure the presence of these persons before the taskforce to checkmate the continued unauthorised excavation and illegal mining going on throughout the length and breadth of the state.
“This will also ensure the improvement and protection of our environment as envisaged by Section 20 of the 1999 Constitution, “Ezeudu said.
Contributing to the debate, Dr Tim Ifedioranma (Njikoka I), described the actions of the two individuals as disrespectful to the government’s institution.
“Their activities in the state is why we are experiencing erosion and environmental degradation. They must be made to appear and account for their actions, “he said.
Also speaking, Mr Somtochukwu Udeze (Ogbaru I) said the persons involved in the unauthorised excavation and illegal mining were not working in the interest of the state.
“These men do not love this state because they are causing problems for residents and making the government spend so much in addressing the environmental problems such as erosion.
“We have a role to play to protect residents and the future of our state. I therefore, support the arrest of these persons, “he said.
Also, Mr Smart Okafor (Nnewi North) called for a regulation to check any form of excavation and mining in the state.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Uche Okafor, while appreciating the taskforce committee for their efforts, said the Assembly has the power to investigate atrocities as well as to summon any individual or group to appear before it.
“This is the first time this House will be exercising this right because we have no other choice after several invitation.
“Anambra is losing it land mass to erosion and these are man-made erosion causing harm to residents, we can not allow this act to continue.
“The police must ensure these persons appear before the House on Tuesday, Sept.1, “he said.
Okafor directed the Clerk of the House, Mr Pius Udo, to ensure the resolution gets to the Commissioner of Police before the close of business for the day.