The Abia State House of Assembly presided over by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, resumed sitting today, Wednesday, 27th May, 2020.
Recall that the House had on Monday, 23rd March, 2020 adjourned Plenary to resume back this Month of May.
Appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari on the Autonomy Granted State Legislature and Judiciary.
The Abia State House of Assembly expressed their gratitude to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, on the implementation of Executive Order 10 of 2020 which grants full autonomy to State Legislature and Judiciary.
The Speaker thereafter read a Letter from the Auditor-General (AG) of the Local Government Areas of Abia State on the submission of the Audited Report of the 17 Local Government Areas of the State for the 2019 fiscal year and the audit of management of the Local Government Health Authorities.
The AG appealed for the Speaker’s support to see the signing of the Report into Law.
The Speaker, Rt.Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, committed the report to the House Conmitee on Public Petitions for necessary legislative works.
The Member representing Aba North State Constituency, Hon Aaron Uzodike, brought three Petitions from his Constituents who sought the intervention of the House in their separate issues.
The Speaker committed the Petitions to the House Committee on Public Petitions.
MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE.
On his part, the Member Representing Umuahia South State Constituency, Hon Barr Jerry Uzosike, brought a matter of Urgent Public Importance on the Devastation of some Sections of his Constituency by Erosion.
“Mr Speaker, Umunwanwa Road was awarded by NDDC to link with Imo State. The Contractor started work and abandoned the Road shortly after.
“Mr Speaker, as I speak now, the road is completely cut off, the petroleum pipeline in that axis is now over 20ft above the usual level.
“Sometimes, natural ruptures force petroleum to begin to leak from this pipeline. The erosion has also destroyed the Umunwanwa Primary School built by this Government.
“Before the coronavirus pandemic, the report of NDDC claimed to have done over 45 per cent work on that road which was worth millions of naira, and Mr Speaker, their son is in this House”, he said.
He prayed the House to do a letter to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to know what is happening in the area. He also sought the Intervention of the House to direct the NDDC contractor to return back to site.
In addition, the Lawmaker brought a Motion on the Olokoro River Bridge which he said is about to be cut off.
“Before the end of July, if no work, even if palliative, is done, that bridge will collapse completely”, he said.
He prayed the House to direct NEWMAP to quickly move to that bridge and work on it.
Contributing to the Matter of Urgent Public Importance/Motion, the Lawmaker representing Osisioma Ngwa North State Constituency, Rt. Hon Kennedy Njoku, Umuahia North State Constituency, Hon Kelechi Onuzuruike , Isialangwa North State Constituency, Hon. Ginger Onwusibe, Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu, all sought the quick intervention of the House on the Matter of Urgent Public Importance and Motion as raised by Hon Jerry Uzosike.
The Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, thanked the Lawmakers for their contributions to the Matter as presented by Hon Jerry Uzosike.
“All we can do as a House of Assembly is to bring the attention of the NDDC on the state of the road which the contractor claimed to have done 45 per cent, attaching all the relevant pictorial evidence on it and also for us to bring the attention of the State through the Ministry of Environment and NEWMAP to it”, he said.
The House unanimously adopted the prayers on the motion presented by Hon Jerry Uzosike.
The Speaker on his part, brought a Matter or Urgent Public Importance on the non usage of the Markets built by the Government.
“They said that some of them that have shops in those markets that were demolished were not given any shops at the new ones.
“If you go to Ubani Ibeku market, you will find out that about 50 per cent are closed up meanwhile people own those shops”
“The essence of moving those markets was to end street trading. It is now time for us to unravel the owners of those shops perpetually locked up and give it to those who will make immediate use of them.
“I appeal to my dear Colleagues to help on this matter because Umuahia is the capital city of the State and it is good I bring this issue out to the floor so it can be discussed”, he said.
The Member representing Umuahia North State Constituency, Hon. Kelechi Onuzuruike, in his contribution to the Matter, urged the House to look into the case critically.
“Mr Speaker, you have spoken the mind of every Umuahian. Mr Speaker, I had cause to visit the Ubani Market during this Lockdown, Mr Speaker, what I saw bewildered me. You will some shops that have been under lock and key for over a year.
“Mr Speaker, the entire Umuahia North Has spoken through you and we are saying that the needful be done, and be done urgently. Let some punitive measures be meted out to the owners of such shops so that it will serve as a deterrent to others who may be thinking to do same”, he said.
The Minority Leader of the House, Hon Sir Abraham Oba, on his part called on the House to expedite action on the Matter as presented by the Speaker.
“Mr Speaker, the only way out is for Government to take over all the locked up shops and give same to those in immediate need of it”, he opined.
The Member representing Umuahia South State Constituency, Hon Barr Jerry Uzosike, on his part urged the House to apply all the necessary legislative and political will to arrest the situation before it becomes a norm.
“It seems to me that in all the streets of Umuahia, you see any new building, there is a warehouse.
“Mr Speaker, there is an urgent need for the political will to move these traders back to Ubani, what happened was that most of these traders moved into Ubani while some refused and because nothing happened to those who refused to move people who ordinarily needed to go to Ubani now purchase at the metropolis.
“There is need for a political will to move these traders back to Ubani”, he concluded.
The Member representing Obingwa West, Hon Barr. Thomas Nkoro, in his support to the motion called on the House to review the allocations at Ubani Market.
“Let the allocations at that market be reviewed to accommodate the original owners of shops at the demolished markets”, he said.
The Speaker, while thanking the members for their contributions maintained that the shops.were hijacked by non traders.
“It is my considered opinion to call on the State Government to implement the law banning street trading in Abia State.
“Secondly, is that allocation of the stores at Ubani Market be looked into by the House Committee on Trade and Investment of the House”, he remarked.
(1) That the House Committee on Investment investigate and find out the real owners of the shops in a bid to ascertain whether those people that paid actually got the shops for which they paid.
(2) To urge the State Government to end the menace by implementing the Law banning street trading.
The Deputy Majority Leader, Hon Chief Paul Tharibo, in his Personal Explanation informed the House on the passing on of the Abia State Commissioner for Environment, Dr Solomon Ogunji.
The Speaker in his comment on the unfortunate incident said the House will make out a day to visit his family.
“For those who knew him very well, he was a man that was never afraid to air his opinion at all times.
“We have watched him and his undeniable efforts in the election that produced his brother and friend, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, as the Governor of Abia State.
“I will like us to do me that favor to join me on next time we sit to visit his home”, he stated.
The House observed a minute silence for the Late Commissioner for Environment, Dr Solomon Ogunji.
The Speaker thanked the Lawmakers for adhering to the rules of Social Distancing .
“This is the new normal, I want to appreciate Honourable Colleagues for adhering to the rule on social distancing; wearing of face mask is now compulsory for anyone approaching the gate of the Assembly Complex.
With the Motion of the Majority Leader, Hon Solomon Akpulonu, and the support of the Minority Leader, Hon Abraham Oba, the House adjourned Plenary to resume back on the 1st Day of June, 2020.