Plenary Proceedings of the Abia State House of Assembly for Tuesday 9th July, 2019.

Plenary Proceedings of the Abia State House of Assembly for Tuesday 9th July, 2019.

It is Tuesday 9th July, 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 to the hallowed Chambers of the Abia State House of Assembly.

The Member Representing Isialangwa South, Rt Hon Chikwendu Kalu, prayed before the commencement of the House sitting at exactly 12:39pm

Observations and Adoption of VOTES and PROCEEDINGS of Monday 8th July, 2019.

The Speaker asked the House members to check Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 8th July, 2019:

“Distinguished Colleagues, you are welcome to today’s Plenary Session this 9th Day of July, 2019. Before we proceed, it is expedient that we go through the Votes and Proceedings of Monday 8th July, 2019,may we go through it for us to check whether it was a reflection of what happened yesterday for the Purposes of Adoption”.

The Member representing Umuahia South, Hon .Barr. Jerry Uzosike, moved a Motion that the House adopt the Votes and Proceedings while the Minority Leader, Hon Abraham Oba, seconded the Motion. The Speaker put the Motion into Voice Vote to which the House unanimously adopted as a working document of the House.

Petitions, Matters of Urgent Public Importance.

The Member representing Umuahia North, Hon. Kelechi Onuzurike, raised a matter of urgent public importance over the increasing heaps of refuse in Umuahia metropolis.

“I rise on this matter of urgent public importance to bring to your notice the lack of duty by the General Manager of the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency(ASEPA) and his Deputy in charge of Aba Zone”, he said.

“Mr Speaker, Honourable colleagues, I have had cause to interface with the GM and his Deputy in Charge of Aba. If you take a look around Umuahia and Aba, you will know we are about being hit by an epidemic.

“Mr Speaker, o the day of your inauguration you did say this House will not tolerate a situation where Resolutions passed by this House are not respected. Mr Speaker, in the 6th House, we did pass a Motion over this same issue but the issues appeared to have been abandoned, he declared.

Prayer in the Motion

That we invite the General Manager of ASEPA and his Deputy in charge of Aba Zone to understand why they are not carrying out their responsibilities.

At this point, the Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, called for contributions to the motion raised by the lawmaker representing Umuahia North State Constituency.

Member representing Umuahia South State Constituency, Hon Barr.Jerry Uzosike, said he was supporting the Motion 100%.

“The issue of refuse is a problem; it is like a weak point in the management of Abia State. I am aware that this House had passed a Bill which permits ASEPA to generate funds to augment what they get as subventions from the Government.

“Most times we see them come to people to collect ASEPA fees but the management appears to be the problem.

“I support this Motion in that maybe they have some reasonable excuses why they are not doing their job, so it is important we invite them to this House so that we can help find a permanent solution to whatever their challenge might be.

“This is why I think it is Important that the GM and the DGM in charge of Aba come to this House to offer explanations”.

The Member representing Ikwuano State Constituency, Hon Stanley Nwabusi, while contributing to the Motion urged the House to exercise its oversight functions on the Motion.

“Mr Speaker, Hon. Colleagues, Refuse Management and its health effects cannot be overemphasized, this House must exercise its oversight functions on this matter. I fully support this Motion, Mr Speaker.

On his own part, Member representing Osisioma Ngwa South, Hon.Allen Nwachukwu, said the Motion before the House was an urgent one that requires the full support of the House

“Mr Speaker, I think this Motion is an urgent one. Coincidentally, I was coming back from Rivers State yesterday and the kind of refuse I saw at the Imo River axis is very Alarming; we really need to engage them (ASEPA) to know what the problem is.

“I think what we should do is to get the Ministry Involved, I think this Motion is very Important”, he concluded.

The Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, informed the House of the Governor’s assurance last week that the refuse dumps in Umuahia will be cleared any moment from now.

“Distinguished colleagues, as you all know, ours truly is captured in the heart of town. Ironically, our Honourable Members from Aba North State Constituency, Aba Central State Constituency and Aba South State Constituency are very quiet today, from my observations it is very possible that their place is cleaner than Umuahia.

“Greatly concerned over the state of refuse in the State, the Governor informed us that he is expecting some trucks to come in for the purposes of evacuating these refuse dumps’’ he Stated.

Resolution of the House on The Motion.

(A) That the House invite the GM and Deputy GM of ASEPA to come and interface with the House to ensure that Umuahia and Aba and even around the Enugu – Portharcourt Road are kept clean.

Motion to Suspend the House of Assembly Rule

Leader of the House, Hon Solomon Akpulonu, moved a Motion that the House suspend the House Rule Order 9, Rule 59, Sub- 4, which states that not more than one Matter of Urgent Public Importance will be taken per sitting by the House of Assembly.

“There are some of our Members who have matters of Urgent Public Importance,” he informed before moving the motion for the suspension of the House Rule”.

The Minority Leader, Hon .Abraham Oba, seconded the Motion, while the Speaker presented it for a Voice vote and the House responded in the affirmative.

That House Rule was Subsequently suspended.

The Member representing Aba Central State Constituency and the Minority Leader of the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Abraham Oba, brought a matter or Urgent Public Importance over flooding menace in Aba which some weeks ago destroyed properties of residents of Aba.

“This Matter of urgent Public Importance has been lingering for some time now, it’s co- sponsored by the lawmaker’s representing Aba Zone, that is, Aba North, Aba South and Aba Central.

“We are talking about the issue of Aba flooding, two weeks ago, Mr Speaker it rained heavily in Aba as a result of which drainages were blocked leading to a disaster where houses were submerged causing some hardship to the people”.

Prayers on the Motion

(A) That the House go on fact finding mission and solidarity visit to those who lost their lives, goods and properties.

(B) That the House mandate the Abia State Ministries of Works and Environment to find a lasting solution to the issue of flooding in Aba.

(C) We pray that the House recommend some compensatory measures to those whose houses and means of livelihood were affected by this flooding.

(D) That NEMA or SEMA come to the aid of those affected.

(E) For the House to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to see what could be done to remedy the situation.

Contributions to the Matter

Leader of the House, Hon Solomon Akpulonu, opposed the Matter of Urgent Public Importance, his opposition to it was based on the fact that residents of Aba are complicit in the blockage of drainages in the Commercial City.

“Mr Speaker, I rise to attack this matter of Urgent Public Importance. I have interfaced with the Member for Aba Central to caution Aba People to stop indiscriminate dumping of refuse. Mr Speaker, nobody should blame the Government, the Governor has done well in Aba.

“His constituents are the people causing this problem; he cannot come here to shift the blame to Government. The last time you (Hon Abraham Oba) praised the Governor because of the roads he did in Aba, and now you are coming to tell us about flooding. Mr Speaker I want us to jettison this Matter of Urgent Public Importance”, he concluded.

On his own part, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Uchendu, advised the House to mandate the various Market Unions in Aba to form a Sanitation Committee that will arrest sanitation defaulters.

“Mr Speaker, I will not join Leader to attack the Member for Aba Central, he did not attack the Government; it is necessary that this House mandates the Market unions to form a sanitation committee to arrest defaulters; we have to find a solution to this”, he said.

Member representing Umuahia North, Hon Kelechi Onuzuruike, urged the House to hold relevant agencies responsiblefor the flooding situation in Aba.

“I want to align myself with the mover of this Motion. I also want to say that the Governor has done so well in Aba. Mr Speaker, the question that we should ask is, “who is responsible for desilting of refuse in Aba?” If the agency responsible is doing its job well, we won’t be talking about this”, he contributed.

The Lawmaker representing Bende North State Constituency, Hon Chukwu Chijioke, while contributing to the Motion blamed the Town Planning Authority for giving House Approvals without proper investigation.

“I rise to Support the Minority leader in his prayers. We cannot only admonish Aba residents when the agency of Government responsible for giving approvals is not doing their expected duties; we are well aware of buildings on water channels in Aba.

“We should know that Aba is a commercial city with a very high capacity for waste generation. Most times, these wastes are dumped in strategic areas and when the rains come, it sweeps them back.

“There should be periodic desilting of drainages. Areas should be defined in terms of whose responsibility it is to handle the situation.

“I also support the compensatory prayers in the Motion, Distinguished Colleagues, I am urging us to support this Motion and all hands must be on deck to redeem Aba” he concluded.

The Lawmaker representing Isialangwa North State Constituency, Hon Ginger Onwusibe, while contributing to the motion, wondered why the Local Government Areas are no longer living up to expectations in the areas of ensuring the cleaning of their areas.

“Aba is one of our brothers, that is why this Motion touches me. In as much as I will enjoin my colleagues to support those who lost their properties, I want to say that this is not the time to apportion blames.

“At every point in time, Government must be seen to be responsible and responsive to the yearnings of its People. It is the constitutional responsibility of Local Governments to clean their environments. We need to ensure that our local governments are strengthened so they can take squarely the responsibility of cleaning their environment.

“I have not heard or seen where ASEPA arrested anybody for sanitation offences. Mr Speaker, I want to also support what the Deputy Speaker said; all the Market Leaders should be made to have Sanitation Committees.

“The only way we can get Aba is by giving Aba residents orientation, I therefore want to Support the Motion and its Prayers with the exception of compensation.

The Member representing Aba South State Constituency, Obinna Ichita in his contribution said the Government of Abia State is doing well for the people of Aba.

“Mr Speaker the area referred to as Aba is not really Aba, It is somewhere around Osisioma. I will say it is Aba but it is in Osisioma, Mechanical Village is in Ugwunagbo e.t.c

Point of Order.

The Speaker, Rt.Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, said as far as the Abia State House of Assembly is concerned, those highlighted areas are all in Aba.

The Lawmaker then continued with his contribution…

“What I want to say is that we should understand that some persons dispose their refuse indiscriminately, but that does not mean that the Government will not live up to its own responsibility. The Governor is doing its part but the Agency is not doing anything to ensure we live in dignity”, he Said.

The Member representing Ukwa West, Hon Godwin Adiele, while contributing to the Motion urged the Government to strengthen its relevant agencies.

“Mr Speaker, I have listened very carefully and my contribution is coming because Ukwa is annexed to Aba. I want to say that this Motion should not be overlooked, Aba is very dirty I agree, ASEPA has been created to take care of this; I agree, there are things Government should do to strengthen this agency.

‘’I want to suggest that ASEPA be granted Mobile Court, apart from Government efforts, individuals should compliment the efforts of Government too.

“I want to assert that a lasting legacy be made by this House to ensure that these Agencies do their best to ensure that cleanliness of environment is guaranteed”, he Said.

The Member representing Ugwunagbo, Hon Munachim Alozie:

“Mr Speaker, I wouldn’t have bordered to mention or comment on this Motion but because the Member representing Ukwa West came to take some part of my Constituency, Asa Nnetu which is part of Ugwunagbo”.

Point of Order.

The Speaker reminded the House that the members are trying to deviate from the Matter of Urgent Public Importance in Question.

Hon Alozie then continued.

“Part of the problem with Aba is that an Aba indigene will go to Akwa Ibom to eat banana and package the peel to Aba to drop it indiscriminately. The people representing Aba Zone should also let their people know that Aba can also be like London with proper sanitation practices.

“My submission, Mr Speaker, while we are talking about ASEPA, is to give them authority to go back to the laws that Established them, we, who live around Aba are tired of that kind of practice of indiscriminate dumping of refuse”, he Said.

The lawmaker representing Bende South State Constituency, Hon Emmanuel Ndubuisi, called on the relevant agencies to enforce the laws.

“I support this Motion; I believe that they are agencies that have the responsibility to enforce the laws; we have people called Health Inspectors, I believe that it is their responsibility to reorient the people of Aba. I know that ASEPA goes to these refuse dumps to pick evacuate wastes,but the health officers are responsible for Health Inspection”, he said.

Apreciation for the Motion

The Speaker thanked the Members for contributing to the Motion.

“The notion of seeing Aba as a no man’s land is gradually crippling into my own town of Umuahia. All the drainages in Aba, if you clear them today, tomorrow they are blocked.

“We will not talk about compensation here…” the Speaker said.

Setting Up of Adhoc Committee.

The Speaker, Rt. Hon Chinedum Orji, announced the Composition of the Committee to Investigate the Circumstances surrounding the Flooding situation in Aba as follows:

Hon Abraham Oba – Chairman

Hon Ichita Obinna

Hon Uzodike Aaron

Hon Munachim Alozie

Hon Allen Nwachukwu

Hon Solomon Akpulonu.

“They will go and do Investigation in the area and report back to the House in three weeks”, the Speaker said.

Final Resolution

(A) That the House set up committee to look into the perennial blocking of drainages in Aba.

(B) That the House Invite the agencies involved to tell us their immediate challenges.

Order Paper

The Clerk of the House, Sir John Pedro Irokansi, read the Item Number One on the Order Paper.

(1) Consideration of HAB12019: A Bill Seeking to Establish the Abia State House of Assembly Service Commission and other Related Matters, sponsored by the Speaker and Others.

The Leader of the House, Hon. Solomon Akpulonu, moved a Motion that Item number one be referred to other Legislative Day (Wednesday, 10th July, 2019).

The Minority Leader, Hon Sir Abraham Oba, seconded the Motion while the Speaker committed the Motion to Voice Vote and the House responded in the Affirmative.

“We are adjourning our Plenary till tomorrow 10th July, 2019”, the Speaker declared!

The Abia State House of Assembly Subsequently Adjourned Plenary to Wednesday 10th July 2019 at 10am.

Courtesy: Media Unit, Office of the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly