FRESH CRACK IN IMO ASSEMBLY OVER ACJL LAW

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Even as the Imo State House of Assembly is yet to resume after weeks of break, there are strong indications that fresh division has crept into the State lawmaking body over salient issues bordering on the controversial Administration of Criminal Justice Law, ACJL No. 2 of 2020.

The State had been engulfed in claims and counter claims from different quarters following reactions on the passage of the said bill into law.

Recall that early March 2020, Uzodimna was sworn in newly as the Executive Governor, he signed it into law, registering it as his first bill to be assented.

It was a Private Member Bill, chiefly sponsored by the Member representing Oguta State Constituency, Hon. Frank Ugboma.

However, the law is said to be raising serious dust, by attracting diverse views in the public.

It became controversial when some persons claimed the law allegedly empowered the Governor to detain at pleasure, while others, especially the lawmakers indicated that the Bill they passed never had such clauses and sections contained in the final Law.

However, controversy is trailing certain sections of the provisions relating to “Pleasure”, permitting the State Governor to detain suspects at his pleasure.

Section 484 of the Law provides;
“Where any person is ordered to be detained during the Governor’s pleasure he shall notwithstanding anything in this Law or in any other written law contained be liable to be detained in such place and under such conditions as the Governor may direct and whilst so detained shall be deemed to be in legal custody”.
In addition, the Law provides that a detainee may only be discharged if granted license by the Governor.

In Section 485, it was believed to give room for the following;
“A person detained during the Governor’s pleasure may at any time be discharged by the Governor on license”
“A license under subsection (1) of this section may be in such form and may contain such conditions as the Governor may direct”.
“A license under this section may at anytime be revoked or varied by the Governor and where license has been revoked the person to whom the license relates shall proceed to such place as the Governor may direct and if he fails to do so, may be arrested without warrant and taken to such place”.

This, Trumpeta learnt, has caused seeming crack among the lawmakers.

At first, Ugboma denied ever having the either of Section 484, pointing out that his bill ended on 372.

He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the Bill I presented had about a total of 372 Sections. How and where it was amended, recreated and reshaped into Section 484 and beyond remains a mystery and a legislative wonder of our time as what I presented and circulated to my colleagues during plenary, both in the First and Second readings did not contain such obnoxious and embarrassing Section 484. Neither was it deliberated in the House Committee of the whole. It indeed never existed in the House.

“No one has been able to explain to the members of the 9th House how and at what stage the said Section 484 was inserted into the Bill. It smacks of an evil manipulation to throw Imo people into the dungeon.

“As a Lawyer, I have had cause to fight against such obnoxious laws and as an activist there is no way this section would have scaled through plenary in the 9th House which I am part of. All of us are already available victims of this obnoxious sections. Not even those who practiced this calculated affront on the Constitution are exempted”.

Another member of the 9th House, Hon. Anyadike Nwosu said, “However,what beggers belief is how a particularly obnoxious and offensive section,(Chapter 13) ( Section 484) and (section 485 )was contemptuously smuggled into this law; a development which has ruffled feathers and created an atmosphere of discontent in the state.

“This section is not only repugnant to natural justice,equity and good conscience but portrays this law as draconian and anti-people .

“From the original bill shared to our colleagues at the plenary,the above contentious section was not contained in the original bill (See Hon Barr Frank Ugboma’s disclaimer to the above-mentioned section,as the Chief Sponsor of the bill).We the minority and other colleagues disassociate ourselves from the contentious section of this AJCL law and equally call for its review or total expunging from the AJCL law, for it runs against the grains of the democracy which Imolites welcomed with joy”.

While Hons; Kennedy Ibeh, Solomon Anukam, and Okey Onyekanma questioned where Section 484 and 485 emanated from, Hon. Ngozi Obiefule submitted that there is more to it, hence, the call for the Clerk of the House to answer the many questions.

On the contrary, the Speaker, through his spokesperson, Emeka Ahaneku dropped his comment, before the House Committee Chairman on Information and Judiciary, Hon. Dominic Ezerioha confirmed that the two sections (484, 485) were on the original bill the House debated and passed the bill into law.

Ezerioha faulted his colleagues claim saying, “No one smuggled in anything. We passed the bill with the said sections therein”.

On his part, the Speaker disclosed that there was nothing like discrepancy, adding that the bill passed through the normal procedures before its passage.

Against this backdrop, Members see the development as a ridicule on their part which the leadership owes them an explanation.

Trumpeta further learnt that the matter has polarised the members with those sympathetic to the governor either keeping mute or making statements in favour of the governor.

In one publication, the Deputy Speaker Amara Iwuanyanwu believed to be the eye of the governor in the House, exonerated Senator Uzodinma while his colleagues are of the view that the State may be in the know of how the controversial sections came into the law.

OGBUAGU’S PRESENCE EXCITES CROWD
A rousing ovation greeted the entrance of Hon. Uche Ogbuagu at the birthday and reception of one of his colleagues in the Parliament, Hon Philip Ejiogu, held last weekend.

Hon. Uche Ogbuagu represents Ikeduru State Constituency, and the Majority Leader of the House. He is a Comedian turned Lawmaker.

While the presence of other lawmakers wasn’t of much significance to the crowd that honoured the ‘High Class’ birthday bash, that of Ogbuagu was spectacular.

Immediately the compere announced the entry of Uche Ogbuagu and others, the people became exited and chanted repeatedly ‘Ogbuagu, Ogbuagu, Uchechukwu ga-eme nwa Ogbuagu, Mr. Talkinson’.

Shaken by the display of likeness that greeted his arrival, he gave them a joke while holding the Microphone, which left the audience battling with laughter.

HAS EMMA ORIE DETHRONED HECLUS OKORO?

It was a tinge of drama last weekend at Emekuku, Owerri North LGA of Imo State, venue for the birthday celebration of the member for Owerri North in the Imo State House of assembly, IMHA, as Ohaji/Egbema State Constituency appears to be having two representatives at a time.

While Hon. Emma Orie represented Ohaji/Egbema in the 8th House, Heclus Cyriacus Okoro is the incumbent in the 9th House.

Assembly Vibes witnessed with keen interest how Orie who had served out his tenure was comfortable taking the glory of his successor in a function that registered the presence of political bigwigs in the state.

At first, when he arrived in company of other members of the 9th House, he was echoed by the MC thus, ‘Let us welcome also, the presence of the richest House of Assembly Member representing Ohaji/Egbema, Hon. Emmanuel Orie’.

It continued till he was handed over the microphone to address the audience.

Lo and behold, the former member dissapointed both the Journalists at the venue and others that knew him as ‘Former’ when he neither corrected the MC of his true position in Ohaji/Egbema, nor made it open in case he represented his brother, and his Successor at the occasion.

From his body language, it appeared he was comfortable answering and taking the position of Heclus Okoro who was conspicuously absent at the event.

This, however left many people asking if Emma Orie is Heclus Okoro by proxy?

DEPUTY SPEAKER BUILDS PERSONAGE IN HONOUR OF LATE DAD

Imo State House of Assembly Deputy Speaker, and member representing Nwangele LGA, Rt. Hon. Amarachi Chyna Iwuanyanwu has built a ‘Personage’ in honour of his late father, Sir Chyna Iwuanyanwu of blessed memory.

The fallen hero of Dim na N’ume, until his death was a political titan, and philanthropist.

It may not be out of place to however say that his son, Amara, has taken over his place as he continues to do those things his father was known for, including humanitarian services.

Recall that the late Iwuanyanwu single-handedly built and donated a magnificent edifice for the Anglican Church, Diocese of Orlu before he died.

Similarly, the Deputy Speaker towed same path by building and donating a Personage for the New Covenant Church Amuzi, Dim na Nume in Nwangele LGA, in remembrance of his father.

OKIGWE REGIONAL WATER SCHEME:
OGBUNIKPA WELCOMES GHARF ON ADVOCACY VISIT

Hon. Chidiebere Samuel Ogbunikpa, the House of Assembly representative for Okigwe State Constituency, has welcomed members of the Global Health Awareness Research Foundation, GHARF over the weekend.

The advocacy visit, Trumpeta Assembly Vibes learnt, was to chart a way forward towards the revitalization of the long abandoned Okigwe Regional Water Scheme.

GHARF called for his support in ensuring that the Water Scheme is rehabilitated, for the purposes of providing water to every nook and cranny of the LGA.

They also appealed to the Lawmaker to help in the integration of CSO representation in the oversight function of the State House Committee on Water Resources; and for him to support GHARF and USAID E-WASH efforts call for the building of segregated toilets in schools, markets, motor parks and public places in Okigwe.

Responding, Ogbunikpa revealed his plans of presenting the matter of resuscitating the Okigwe Regional Water Scheme to the State, through a motion of public urgent importance.

Hon. Ogbunikpa also promised, in tandem with some stakeholders, to build the segregated toilets facilities in Public schools in Okigwe, as well as some secondary schools in Okigwe urban areas.

In attendance were Representatives of GHARF USAID E-WASH Okigwe structures (Men, Women & Youth), National Orientation Agency, WASH Zonal Customer Forum and the media.

PHILIP EJIOGU BAGS CONSTITUENTS NOD, COMMISSION PROJECTS

Member representing Owerri North State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Philip Ejiogu has registered his name in the good book of his Constituents, for his outstanding performance.

Ejiogu was extolled as the best Lawmaker in Imo State, following his numerous Contributions to the growth and development of Owerri North, especially to humanity.

The above was made obvious last Friday, when he celebrated his birthday amidst pomp and pageantry.

Apart from the unprecedented crowd that greeted the occasion, his people showered enconmiums on him.

Part of activities that heralded the event include the empowerment of widows and market traders, inauguration of the Nkwo-Emeke Prayer and empowerment program.

The grand celebration was the commissioning of borehole and convenience (toilet) facilities for the traders and customers at the ancient Nkwo-Emeke market, in Emekuku, Owerri North LGA.

Hon Philip Ejiogu reassured of his resilience in effective representation, legislation and oversight for the betterment of the State and Owerri North at large.

Earlier in their address, Evang. Chima Eboms, Mr. Ifeanyi Oruh, Chairman and Secretary, Nkwo-Emeke Market Traders Association had this to say, “If all politicians will behave like you, their Constituencies will be a better place”.

They revealed, “It is worth mentioning that, during the election period, Hon. Philip Ejiogu made this promise like all other aspirants to the business community of Nkwo-Emeke market, and when he won the election, he also visited the Market to thank the traders for their roles and reassured us of his promise. After that, he took it as an obligation to single-handedly fulfil it. This kind gesture has fully demonstrated his heart for the people of his Constituency. With this also, he has occupied a special space in the hearts and minds of Nkwo-Emeke market traders”.

LACK OF PIPE-BORNE WATER WORRIES NJABA LEGISLATOR

Non availability of portable pipe-borne water across communities in Njaba Local Government Area, Imo State has worried the Member representing Njaba in the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Mrs. Uju Onwudiwe.

This is said to be giving the ranking female lawmaker sleepless nights, as plans to actualize the goal are underway.

Hon. Onwudiwe expressed concern in a meeting held on Tuesday, with the General Manager, Imo State Water and Sewerage Corporation, Engr. Emeka Ugoanyanwu, as facilitated by the Community And Youth Development Initiatives, CYDI.

The meeting, we learnt was a follow-up to the earlier advocacy visit by CYDI to the House Member, where a request for her to push for the setting up of a House Committee on WASH was made.

Onwudiwe expressed concern on the lack of pipe-borne water in Njaba.

When inquired if the Njaba River can be utilized to set up a water scheme in order to supply water to the people of the area and its environ, the GM ISWSC, Engr. Ugoanyanwu briefed on the dangers of mining activities to the River.

He likened the situation to the scenario at the Otammiri water scheme, where people are currently building houses close to the River and also depositing waste in the water.

Engr. Ugoanyanwu said such activities have negative impacts, hence charged ‘Igolo Njaba’ to use her good office in the House to enact laws to stop such activities around the water bodies.

Also, he informed the House member that plans are in place to build an Orlu Regional water scheme, which is intended to be supported by the World Bank.

“This water scheme will serve most of the LGAs in Orlu zone , including Njaba”

Meanwhile, Hon. Onwudiwe acknowledged the tireless efforts of the GM so far, and assured to engage her colleagues for bills and motions that could help promote the activities of the ISWSC.