Rivers Lawmakers exonerate Speaker from N600m scam

May 17th, 2018

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

The Rivers State House of Assembly has disassociated from claims by the lawmaker representing Ahoada East constituency I, Hon Martins Mannah, calling for the Speaker’s resignation over alleged gross incompetence and mismanagement of affairs in the House.
Hon Martins Mannah had called for the resignation of the speaker of the state Assembly, Rt Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani for allegedly mismanaging the affairs of the House and failing to cater for the welfare of staff of the assembly.
The lawmaker who spoke with journalists in his office after plenary on Monday, lamented the absence of adequate training and workshops for lawmakers which he noted has affected their performance.
He accused the Speaker of alleged mismanagement of about N600 million given to him by the state Governor, Barr Nyesom Wike, to renovate the assembly quarters and complex. He also complained that Assembly staff are owed 17 months’ salary.
“This assembly, over 80% are new members and as a legislature we are expected to go for seminars, workshops and conventions to improve our capacity, but unfortunately since we resumed, this is our third year, we have only travelled once for the commonwealth parliamentary association CPA meeting, we have only gone for only one seminar, whereas other states that produce only onions and water melon are able to sponsor their lawmakers to all seminars, workshops and CPA meetings even to foreign countries.
“The speaker has failed to deliver all this trainings to members, now as new members how do we contribute on the floor of the house when we have not been adequately trained, some members do not even know how to move motions.
“For 17 months, staff have not been paid, our staff have literally turned to beggars, this edifice was built by former governor Peter Odili, yet cannot be maintained by the Speaker Ikuinyi Ibani, even when the present governor Nyesom Wike gave N600 million to the Speaker to renovate both the quarters and the complex, the Speaker never did it.
“If the speaker knows that he is not competent to lead the house, because we cannot come here and fail because of one man’s lackadaisical attitude, if he knows that he cannot pilot this house, he should honourably resign let another man takeover”, Mannah lamented.
Meanwhile, the Majority Leader of the State Assembly, Martin Amaehwule, who came up with the position of the house while briefing journalists yesterday in Port Harcourt, dismissed claims that the Speaker Ikuinyi Ibani received N600 million from Governor Nyesom Wike for the purpose of maintenance of the state Assembly complex and quarters as alleged by Martins Manna.
Amaehwule disclosed that the House is investigating the comments allegedly made by Martins Manna, saying that “members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have confidence in the Speaker, Ikunyi Owaji Igbani.”
He assured that the outcome of the investigation will determine their next line of action on the lawmaker. He further dismissed claims that staff of the Assembly have not been paid for 17 months as alleged by the lawmaker, asking that the aggrieved lawmaker should come up with evidence to justify his claims.
Similarly, Chairman Rivers State House of Assembly Commission, Chidi Amadi has dismissed claims that staffs of the commission are owed 17 months’ salary.
Chidi who spoke yesterday in an interview with our correspondent, said the claim by member representing Ahoada East State constituency I, Martins Mannah that Assembly staffs were been owed salary was not true.
He also disagreed with the lawmaker over the state of infrastructure at the Assembly, adding that the management and leadership of the Assembly have been doing their best to add values to the existing infrastructure and other faculties.

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