Things are said to be gradually falling apart in the camp of All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers in the state who are reportedly grumbling over the decision of the Speaker to slash their allowances to enable the leadership of the house have enough money to meet some of its obligations.
While that was brewing, the speaker yesterday suspended three APC lawmakers, namely;Hon Arthur Egwim of Ideato North LGA;Hon Ngozi Obiefule of Isu and Hon Obinna Okwara of Nkwerre for reason not clearly stated.He also went ahead to declare the seat of Ngor Okpala Lawmaker, Hon Tochi Okereke vacant for not attending sitting sufficiently.Though, the speaker claimed it was as a result of refusal to attend plenary when the 2022 budget proposal was presented to the Assembly , the trio of Obiefule, Okwara and Egwim were suspended many consider such reason as flimsy.
What is also confusing in the episode is that out of 5 lawmakers that attended the Burial of Nwosu’s mother, only ranking members were suspended while leaving Hon Micheal Crown Njoku, representing Obowo state Constituency and Hon Johnson of Ideato South.
When contacted, Hon Obinna Okwara confirmed his suspension, adding that there is no other reason for the suspension of the trio of the ranking lawmakers aside punishing them for attending burial ceremony of Uche Nwosu’s mother.
Another PDP lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that major reason for the suspension of APC lawmakers is to pave way for the speaker to appropriate their allowances which he said was the crux of the matter.He added,”the leadership must have blackmailed their APC colleagues before the governor who delights in listening to gossips as opposing his program in the state”.
It was gathered that before now, each of the lawmakers was receiving as much as N4.8m as cumulative allowances. But shortly after assumption office, the current Speaker of the house, Barr Kennedy Ibeh told his colleagues that the sum of N2m would be deducted from the allowances of each of the lawmakers to enable the leadership of the house have enough money to run the affairs of the assembly.
According to an APC lawmaker from Owerri Zone, who does not want his name in print, one of the reasons given by the Speaker to justify the deduction was the recent training organized for the legislators which according to the Speaker cost the house so much, despite the fact that each of the lawmakers who participated in the training according to a reliable source was only given the sum of N100,000.
“This did not go down well with the APC lawmakers who are grumbling that at a time like this when most of their constituents are expecting much from them, their statutory entitlement is being slashed for flimsy reasons.”
Efforts to reach the Speaker for comments was futile as he did not respond to calls put to his phone.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the speaker, Hon Ifeanyi Onyekachi also confirmed the suspension of the lawmakers.The CPS who said he was in a function, assured our reporter of a detailed response after the event.This he never did uptil the time of going to press.