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JONAS EZIEKE, Abuja
The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Albert Sam Tsokwa has described as damaging recent media reports that some lawmakers collected $50,000 to shelve debate on the motion seeking to probe the $9.3million meant to procure arms seized in South Africa.
Tsokwa, who addressed newsmen in Abuja over the weekend described the reaction of All Progressives Congress (APC) spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed as misguided utterances.
The Taraba born lawmaker who also described the bribery allegation as blackmail said that the House has no hidden agenda and that at all times it has always acted in unity of purpose.
According to him, every proceeding of the House is guided by the Standing Order and the mover of the motion ought not to have done so since it was not listed on that day’s Order Paper.
He said “the motion on $9.3million was an investigative motion, therefore cannot be debated. The motion was put because of the magnanimity of the Deputy Speaker and it was defeated”.
The lawmaker who cited Rules 1 and 50 of the House Standing Rules as the relevant rules that precludes debate on the motion added that voting on the motion by members were not on the basis of party basis.
On the $50,000 bribery allegation, the lawmaker said neither himself no any member of Taraba Caucus in the House attended any meeting where such issues were discussed.
Daily Champion recalls that on Tuesday 23 September 2014, APC lawmakers in the House staged a walk out during plenary on a motion about the seized $9.3million arms deal with a private jet by South African Government.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has appealed to royal fathers in the South-South to help check the menace of crude oil theft in the region.
The Governor made the appeal at the weekend when he received the South-South Monarchs at the Government House, Benin City.
Governor Oshiomhole said, “I think Your Royal Majesties have a role to play to lend your voice against oil theft because that is destabilizing the country and creating huge environmental challenges which we will confront when we may not have the resources to do so. When the oil dries up when it will dry up, the damage already done to the environment will persist and the resources that will be required to regenerate the environment to deal with the consequences of the pollution may not be available.
“Across the South-South, too many of our people who want quick money are involved in crude oil theft. In Edo State, around Agbede, it’s not an oil producing area but for some strange reasons, there are all kinds of illegal refineries there polluting and destroying a place that is ordinarily very suitable for agriculture.
He said, “being in government, there are things I no longer can say, but that does not mean that those things are not in my heart. I am worried about what appears to be a free hand for criminals to help themselves with our common patrimony called oil and gas.
“One of the long term consequences of this kind of situation is that you have small-small boys of very little exposure, having access to huge resources that is not the result of hard work and because they are criminal in nature, and the volume and sum involved is huge, they have enough money to raise alternative army, to procure the deadliest weapons in order to defend their territory which is basically an area they have carved out for the purpose of that heinous crime”.
Oshiomhole continued, “I am very worried about the future of our country if few people take so much and the rest of us in the country have so little to share and these people are not invisible. If the volume of oil smuggling is so much and you know the amount, it means you should know the smugglers.
“Nigeria must find the courage to speak truth to power, including traditional power and if any of us, president, governor, minister or traditional ruler fouls the atmosphere, we should be dealt with according to law. Nigeria is greater than any of his sons”, he said.
On local government administration, he said “most of the Local Government reforms are the outcome of ill-digested military solution to far more complex problems. I think we need to carry out reforms to truly make local governments responsible for what happens in their local government”.
He said a situation where the Local Government Service Commission is responsible for recruitments and staff posting in Local Governments will not augur for developments as a local government may be overstaffed by the commission such that the local government will use all its allocation to pay wages to the detriment of other development projects.
Earlier, the Chairman of the South South Monarchs Forum, HRM, Edmund Daukoru, said they were in Benin to hold a meeting and to present to copies of the book which they launched at their conference.
He said, the monarchs decided to form a forum to meet and share ides because “our institution is the one that can effectively partner with government to penetrate down to the grassroot level and we can’t do that if we stay in our respective palaces , if we never get to meet, we never get to exchange ideas.”
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