From Joshua Chibuzom
The Martins Amaehwule-led faction of Rivers State House of Assembly has described decisions reached by the four-member Assembly led by Edispn Ehie as null and void, saying the lawmakers are only holding family meetings.
The four lawmakers had approved 2024 budget last week barely 24 hours after it was presented by Governor Similanayi Fubara.
Amaehwule, who is loyal to former Governor Nyesom Wike, also alleged that Fubara supervised the demolition of the State House of Assembly, adding that belongings of the lawmakers and staff of the Assembly were trapped inside the complex.
Amaehwul, who spoke on Sunday at a dedication service and stakeholders meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Port Harcourt, said that they were not notified about the demolition or given the opportunity to move out their personal belongings and important documents from the complex.
He said that important documents, files, archives and personal belonging of the lawmakers and staff of the Assembly were destroyed during the demolition of the complex.
“As we speak the governor has gone to demolish the state House of Assembly an edifice built with tax payers money. He personally supervised the demolition of the complex not minding that our property, things belonging to members and staff of the Assembly were inside there and they were looting them. Documents, our archives, our belongings were inside the complex before the demolition.
“What the governor is doing is against the law. We hear that some four persons gathered and are meeting somewhere, we don’t know what they are doing. Rivers people should know it today that the House of Assembly of any state is defined by the constitution and the only way you can reconvene the House, you need to have a qourum and quorum is 11. If you are not up to 11, anything you are doing is a family meeting, anything they told you they have done ignore them it’s null and void the law is clear about it.
“Anything you are doing you must do it in line with the dectates of the constitution and the standing orders of the Rivers House of Assembly. We are 27; in all they are just four so whenever we meet, who is meeting, it’s Rivers State House of Assembly,” he said.
He said that the governor had stopped funding the Assembly and pointed out that the Assembly finance management autonomy bill would address the issues of withholding the funds belonging to the Assembly.
“As legislatures our job is to come up with legislation that will help the people of Rivers State. We have just passed the state fund management bill. That law grants the financial autonomy of the state legislation. What it means is that as soon as assent is given to that bill, we don’t have to run to the governor to be begging for funds to manage the House of Assembly. Currently the governor has stopped funding the state House of Assembly but once the bill is consented what that means is that funding will come straight from consolidated revenue of the state.
“What the governor is doing by not releasing funds to the state Assembly is against the constitution. The governor has stopped funding the Assembly that is a misconduct on part of the governor,” he said.
He said that the 27 members of the Assembly defected to APC because of the crisis in Rivers PDP and the love President Bola Tinubu had demonstrated for Rivers State through the appointment of Rivers indigenes and some projects initiated by the present administration.
Rivers State Commissioner of Information and Communication, Joe Johnson had said that the Assembly was demolished because of structural defects.
Earlier in his opening speech, the Care taker Committee Chairman of APC in Rivers State, Chief Tony Okocha, said that the party would do everything within its power to protect the 27 lawmakers that defected to the party.
Chief Okocha said that the party would not fold its arms and watch the lawmakers being intimidated.
He said that the new APC in the state would right the wrong brought about by what he described as bad administration.