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Rivers Assembly suspends APC lawmaker

The Rivers State House of Assembly has suspended the lawmaker representing Ikwerre constituency in the state parliament, Hon. Azubuike Wanjoku, over alleged misconduct.

Ruling on a motion of public importance raised on floor of the House, the Speaker, Hon. Ikuinyi Owaji Ibani, after dividing the house with members voting 15 for and two against, ruled that, “this house hereby resolved that Hon.
Azubuike Wanjoku is hereby suspended from the sitting of the house.”

The Speaker, who had earlier observed that the comments made by the suspended lawmaker in an interview he granted a national daily newspaper (not The Daily Times) and radio station portrayed the house in bad light and impugned on the integrity of the Assembly.

After announcing the suspension, the Speaker referred the matter to the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee of the House where the honourable lawmaker would be given the opportunity to defend himself.

In the newspaper publication referred to by the Speaker, the suspended lawmaker reportedly stated that, “The six All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in the House have dissociated themselves from a petition by their Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) colleagues seeking the transfer of the Commander of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Akin Fakorede”, adding that the resolution was carried out with malice without input from the APC lawmakers in the house.

He further stated in the publication that the APC lawmakers will never be part of such petition against the police officer, saying that, “APC lawmakers in the Rivers State House of Assembly will send their position on the matter to the National Assembly. We will also explore legal redress if our names (APC lawmakers) are contained in the
petition.”

The Daily Times gathered that the lawmaker also denied the existence of the 2017 state budget in the interview he granted a radio station in the state, all of which angered the PDP colleagues in the Assembly who felt that once a decision was reached on the floor of the house, it was binding on all members, irrespective of party affiliations and that such comments were dishonourable of a honourable member of the house.

But mixed-reactions have dogged the suspension of the lawmaker as the lawmakers and stakeholders are sharply divided along the party lines. Dr Dakuku Peterside, former APC governorship candidate in the state in the 2015 governorship election and current Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Security and Safety Administration (NIMASA) said the suspension of the APC legislator was capable of heating the already heated political firmament of the state while Barr Oosi Olisa, Caretaker Committee chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government (ONELGA) of the state said the lawmaker’s suspension was an internal matter of the state Assembly.

Memoye Oghu, Port Harcourt

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