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RIVERS LAWMAKERS IN WAR OF WORDS

By NBF News
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Lawmakers of the Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, defied decorum when the Leader of the House, Chidi Lloyd, flared up because another member referred to him as 'junior colleague.' Also, the legislators threatened severe action against managing directors of the multi-national companies operating in the state, who failed to honour their invitation over discriminatory employment and environmental pollution.

Problem ensued yesterday shortly after a motion on the recent call by the inspector-general of police and the director-general of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) for registration of hospitality establishments with the NTDC, was presented.

Sponsor of the bill, Benibo Anabraba, representing Akuku-Toru Constituency 11, had in reaction to the House leader's comment calling for the withdrawal of the bill, referred to the latter as his junior colleague. Anabraba maintained that he would not withdraw the bill because the interest of the state was at stake, since the House had earlier passed a bill on tourism into law.

Lloyd, the House leader, who had earlier in his comment told the legislators that not all issues should be brought to the House for deliberation, took exception to the word 'junior.' He asked why the sponsor of the bill should turn the hallowed chamber to a court room, stressing that he was a legislator before him. But Anabraba replied that he was called to Bar before him and he (Lloyd) remained his junior.

It took the intervention of the Speaker of the House, Otelemaba Dan-Amachree and a few lawmakers, to calm the situation. They the House leader that the sponsor of the bill meant 'professional colleague' and not otherwise. They maintained that there was no use of 'abusive or insulting word(s)' by Anabraba.

Dan-Amachree later pleadwith his colleagues to defer debates on the matter but they rejected amidst noise. One of the lawmakers, Ben Horsfall, representing Asari Toru Constituency 1, cited Order 6, Rule 2, 3, 4 and 7, which empowered the Speaker to ensure 'order and decorum' within the chamber. The Speaker then defered debates on the bill and called for adjournment. Leader of the House, before adjourning the sitting, apologised for the confusion. The House would resume sitting on April 16.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers had threatened to 'bite' managing directors of multi-national firms operating in the state who shunned their invitation on issues bordering on discriminatory employment practices affecting Rivers people and environmental pollution. Two different House committees on employment and environment were mandated to tackle the problem within two weeks.