Thursday, 15 December 2016

Speaker Shutdown as Vested Interest Tears Anambra State House of Assembly Apart

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

 Anambra State House of Assembly was in a rowdy plenary session recently as members engaged in what could be described as favouritism following a motion moved by the member representing Anambra East State Constituency, Obinna Emenaka.

Moving the motion, Emenaka called on the Commissioner of Police Samuel Okaula to intervene on the lingering crises in one of his constituents, Nsugbe community whose main security operative, Nsugbe Central Vigilante is having issue with another also operating in the community under the name, Abata Urban Vigilante, with a view to forestalling possible break down of law and order.

According to Emenaka, the Central Vigilante was the one recognised by the government while some individuals under the auspices of Nsugbe Urban Landlord Associations formed Nsugbe Urban Area or Abata Urban vigilante apparently for fighting their cause. Abata which is one of the villages within Nsugbe community, Anambra East Local Government Area, is also the area where Nwafor Orizu College of Education is situated.

Supporting the motion, Chugbo Enwezor of Onitsha north 1 state constituency, Majority Leader Victor Okoye from Anambra West constituency, and others argued that both Nigerian constitution and that of Anambra State do not recognise existence of two security outfits in the same community, especially by using ‘Urban’ as a name while Nsugbe is the entity recognised as an urban by government and not a village within it. 

The lawmakers also disclosed that even if such should exist, it must be under the dictate of law of the federal republic of Nigeria and with the total agreement of the authorities concerned such as their traditional ruler, president general, and government.

But countering the motion, Francis Mmegbuanaeze of Idemili north state constituency, who claimed to be a landlord at the controversial Abata urban area, and Ikemefune Uzoezie of Aguata 1 constituency, whose mother, Ego Uzoezie is the Provost, Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe, meaning that both himself and his mother may likely own properties at Abata, insisted that the Urban vigilante were legally formed, duly registered and operate under the confine of law, and should be allowed to be. 

The two lawmakers also questioned the rationale behind the motion since both security operatives were serving separate group of people at separate locations, because according to them, the embattled Abata urban vigilante exist is some kilometers away from Nsugbe town. They even cited places like Udoka and Ngozika Estates, as well as House of Assembly complex and Arroma axis, which respectively have vigilante operatives created and funds by inhabitants of the areas as they are far away from Awka major town where they fall unto. 

Maintaining their ground however, supporters of the motion insisted that one vigilante group must be in existence in a community at a time to avoid possible loss of life and property in event of crash of interest. They also urged the House Speaker, Rita Maduagwu to rule on the motion immediately.

While the opponents and proponents of the motion were raising hands, shouting ‘point of order’ and ‘point of information’, Speaker Maduagwu, a lawyer by profession, hinted that there was no need for further argument on the matter as it involves life and property of their constituents. Going contrary to the motion, Maduagwu called on the Police Commissioner to bring Abata Urban Vigilante to book, thereby throwing the plenary into a boisterous session as members grumbled that they are lawmakers and not law enforcers.

Some legislators such as Uzoezie, Mmegbuanaeze, Enwezor and others even when the Speaker was yet to approve their standing to make contribution, emphasised that calling on the police to bring the Urban vigilante to ‘book’ amounts to classifying the security operative as illegal group while investigation had not been conducted to that effect. They asked the Speaker to employ the very word used by the proponent of the motion but Maduagwu insisted that it was what she heard him said. 

Amidst tense argument, the Speaker succumbed and allowed Emenaka to repeat his plea. He boasted that he was moved to sponsor the motion because he was not biased, adding that it was a matter of urgency importance calling for intervention of Anambra State Police Commissioner on the activities of Nsugbe Urban Landlord Associations founder of Nsugbe Abata Urban Area vigilante so as to prevent them from clashing with the main Nsugbe Central Vigilante. Following the explanation, Speaker Maduagwu quickly hit her desk, without bordering to repeat or counter it, signaling her acceptance, and her colleagues yelled with joy.



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