Plenary Proceedings of the Abia State House of Assembly for Monday, July 15, 2019.
It is Monday, July 15, 2019.
Welcome to another Legislative Day at the Abia State House of Assembly.
The Sergeant-At-Arms ushered the Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, the Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Uchendu and other Principal Officers into the Hallowed Chambers of the Abia State House of Assembly.
The Member representing Umunneochi State Constituency, Hon Okey Igwe, prayed before the commencement of the House sitting at Exactly 1:18pm.
Observation and Adoption of Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, July 9, 2019.
The Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, asked the House Members to check Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, July 9, 2019.
“Distinguished Colleagues, you are welcome to today’s Plenary Sitting of Monday 15th Day of July, 2019. Before we proceed, may we go through the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, July 9, for the purposes of corrections and amendments”.
No Corrections or Amendments.
“In the absence of any correction, Leader can you move your Motion?” the Speaker requested.
The Leader of the House, Hon. Solomon Akpulonu, subsequently moved that the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday the 9th of July, 2019, be accepted as a Working Document of the Abia State House of Assembly.
The Member Representing Bende North State Constituency, Hon Chijioke Chukwu, seconded the Motion after which it was put into Vote by the Speaker to which the House Members answered in the affirmative.
Recognition of Visitors
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, informed House Members of the presence of students of Williams Memorial Secondary School, Afugiri in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State who came to witness the House Plenary Session to aid them in the course of their educational career.
No Matter(s) of Urgent Public Importance
“In the Absence of any Petition and Matter of Urgent Public Importance, the Speaker asked the Clerk to read out the items on the Order Paper.
The Clerk, Sir John Pedro-Irokansi, read the Items as follows:
(1) Consideration of HAB1 2019.
“A Bill for an Act to Establish the Abia State House of Assembly Service Commission and other Related Matters” sponsored by the Speaker and others.
Leader of the House, Hon Solomon Akpulonu, moved a Motion that the House dissolves into a Committee of the Whole to consider the Bill. The Motion was seconded by the Minority Leader, Hon Abraham Oba after which the Speaker put the Motion into Vote and the House Responded in the Affirmative.
House Dissolves into Committee of the Whole, the Mace was therefore lowered with Rt. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji presiding as Chairman.
“Distinguished Colleagues you are welcome to the Committee of the Whole, we start our consideration Page by Page”, The Speaker announced.
Contributions to the Bill
The Leader, Hon Solomon Akpulonu, took the attention of the House to Paragraph 5 Sub 4.
“Mr Chairman, my thinking is that we should remove “National Assembly” from this Paragraph so that it will be applicable to the Unified Salary Structure of the State House Of Assembly.
The Member for Obingwa West, Hon. Thomas Nkoro, made his own observation in Clause 5 (1A) where the Bill talks about Qualification for Appointment into the House of Assembly Commission.
The Leader of the House Spoke in Support of the Observation by Hon Thomas Nkoro.
The Member for Obingwa West drew the attention of the House to the Provisions in Paragraph 6 of same Page 3.
Amendment to Pages 2 & 3
The Speaker put the amendments made into Vote and the House responded in the Affirmative. The amendment was subsequently made on Pages 2 & 3 of the Bill.
On Page 4, the Member representingUmuahia South, Hon. Barr. Jerry Uzosike drew the attention of the House to Section 11 Paragraph 1C (3), for the House to delete “National Assembly” for the Section to flow from the previous pages as it ought to be in the Bill.
He also sought that Section 12, Paragraph 2, be deleted as in Section 11.
The Member representing Isiukwuato, Hon Barr Emeka Okoroafor, drew the attention of the Chairman to Section 11 Sub 3. “The Commission shall not…” He moved that the phrase “Shall not” be removed and replaced with “…shall exercise its powers in due consultations with the Clerk”.
Hon Solomon Akpulonu explained the meaning that Section was trying to convey:
“That Section is trying to explain that the staff of the Assembly is under the supervision of the Clerk; so if members of the Commission come to discipline any staff, the Commission shall have to consult with the Clerk before taking such an action”.
Following the amendments, Member representing Umunneochi, Hon Okey Igwe, suggested that the Bill be taken to the Executive session due to the wordings in that Section of the Bill, but the Speaker explained that the wordings were clear.
The House Subsequently adopted Page 4 of the Bill.
On Page 5, Member Representing Isialangwa North, Hon Ginger Onwusibe, said in Part 3, 15(1) of the Bill, there were no provisions for Legislative Aides for Honourable Members, he therefore sought for a provision of Legislative Aides in that particular Section.
“Again, we deleted “National Assembly” in the other Sections, I have also seen “National Assembly” in this section, let us delete it here as well” he opined.
Hon Solomon Akpulonu advised the House not to be flowing from what is happening at the National Assembly but to look at similar Laws guiding other State Houses of Assembly.
“For now let’s make do with what we already have until we see other Laws from other States” he said.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon Chinedum Orji, said the House can handle the issue of of Legislative Aides under other Matters later.
“Distinguished Colleagues, I think from the information given about Legislative Aides, it is a matter of Budgeting, we can cross that bridge when we get there”, he said even though Hon Ginger said, “This Bill should capture provision for Legislative Aides.
Commenting further, the Speaker said the House would do a comparison at the Executive Session of the House and revert back .
Consequently, Page 5 was adopted as part of the Bill.
The Lawmaker representing Aba South State Constituency, Hon Obinna Ichita, drew the attention of the House over a provision that captured the “National Assembly” on Page 6 of the Bill.
The Leader, Hon Solomon Akpulonu, urged the House to look into the Appointment of Clerk in the Bill.
“Mr Chairman, I think the highest qualification for any Clerk is the Level of a Director, I want us to delete the Provision for Secretaries”, he said.
The Member representing Obingwa West, Hon Thomas Nkoro, referred the House to Section 15, Subsection 2, of the Bill which sought for a provision for “Appointment of Secretaries by the House Of Assembly Commission”.
The Member Representing Ukwa East, Hon Paul Taribo, agreed with the suggestion by the Member representing Obingwa West, saying the position of Secretaries is like that of a Permanent Secretary.
Hon. Solomon Akpulonu pointed out the Provision for issue of seniority in appointing Clerk of the House of Assembly, arguing for the House to delete the issue of Seniority because the appointing authority may decide to pick anybody outside the commission.
The Lawmaker representing Osisioma Ngwa North, Rt Hon Kennedy Njoku, said in the 6th House, it was same Section that became the knotty issue in the progress of the Bill.
“If you look at this Bill, their functions are not Legislative at all; if you look at the business we do here today, you are saying that someone who is an Engineer could become a Clerk, remember at the moment, we have Director of this and that. I am recommending that the issue of Secretary to the Commission be discarded” he said.
Hon Thomas Nkoro argued that there was no need discarding the Clause dealing with Secretaries in the Directorates.
Reverting Back to Plenary
The Chairman, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, said it was better the House reverted back to Plenary.
Hon Solomon moved a Motion that the House revert back to full Plenary.
The Minority Leader, Hon Abraham Oba, seconded the Motion; the Speaker put the Motion into Vote and the House answered in the Affirmative.
The House therefore reverted back to Plenary.
Briefing about what Happened in the Committee of the Whole
The Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, briefed the House about the proceedings of the Committee of the Whole.
“Having Reverted to Plenary, we did consider Section 5 Paragraph 4, where the “National Assembly Service” was deleted to read “Members of the Commission shall be paid in the Unified Salary Structure of State Legislature. Amendment was done in Section 12 (2) on page 5, and Section 51(2). We deleted also “the National Assembly” to read the “Condition of the Director shall be as that of State Legislature,’’ he announced.
The Speaker called on the Clerk to Read the next item on the Order Paper.
The Clerk, Sir John Pedro Irokansi read the next Item on the Order Paper.
Leader of the House, Hon Solomon Akpulonu, moved a Motion that the House adjourn Plenary to Tuesday 16th of July, 2019, at 10am. Hon Sir Abraham Oba Seconded the Motion while the Speaker put the Motion into Vote thus:
“Distinguished Colleagues, the Motion before us is that we adjourn Plenary to Tuesday, 16th of July, 2019, at 10am,” he announced and the House responded in the Affirmative.
The House subsequently adjourned Plenary to Tuesday 16th of July, at 10am.
Courtesy: Media Unit,Office of the Speaker,Abia State House of Assembly.