Following the ongoing demolition of the burnt Rivers State House of Assembly complex to pave way for reconstruction of a new building, the Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule-led group of lawmakers have relocated their sitting to the Legislators’ Quarters in Port Harcourt.
This is coming barely 24 hours after their seats were declared vacant by Speaker Edison Ehie following their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The lawmakers, via a motion on Thursday, adopted and converted the auditorium of the House of Assembly Quarters as their hallowed Chamber.
This is as they condemned in an unequivocal terms what they described as heartless and brazen demolition of the House of Assembly complex by Governor Siminialayi Fubara, without the approval and knowledge of the ‘House’.
In a motion sponsored by 26 members and moved by Hon. Ofiks Kabang, Member representing Andoni state constituency, drew the attention of the federal government of Nigeria, the Inspector-General of Police and the international community, to the alleged constant attacks by Governor Fubara on the legislature of Rivers State.
During what they called ’88th legislative sitting’ of the House, which was held on Thursday, the embattled lawmakers, who are loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), passed two bills into law.
The bills were the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023 and the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018 (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
Commenting on the House of Assembly Funds Management bill, the Amaewhule emphasised the importance of the passage of the bill, noting that it will provide for the management of funds accruing to the House of Assembly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state; adding that the law will ensure accountability and efficient utilisation of funds.
He stated that the House decided to delete some sections of the State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018 and amended some other sections because those sections were anachronistic and an anathema to democracy.
The Speaker stated that with the passage of the amended Bill, elected local government council chairmen and councillors would be liberated from arbitrary removal and suspension from office.