CLO Press Release:
We Welcome the 7th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly
The Civil Liberties Organisation, Akwa Ibom State Branch, heartily congratulate all the newly elected members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, who have been inaugurated as members of the House.
We most especially congratulate the new Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, on his emergence as Speaker.
We also congratulate the members of the 6th Assembly whose terms have come to a close.
CLO considers the House of Assembly as the custodian of representative democracy in Akwa Ibom State. The honourable members bear the responsibility of giving voice and verve to the wishes, aspirations and concerns of those they represent. By their election and subsequent inauguration, the honourable members should bear in mind that they have shed their political party garbs and taken on the task of representing the people of the State, irrespective of political leanings.
As the Honourable Members settle down to the legislative business of the 7th Assembly, we expect them to remain committed to the growth and development of the State.
As the voice of the people, we urge them to take a close look at their oversight functions and scrutinise the performance of ministries and agencies to ensure that budgetary allocations are applied for the good of the people.
We further urge them to take steps to ensure that ministries are working. This is against the backdrop that Civil Servants in the State ministries and extraministerial departments are, in the main, redundant, their jobs having been taken over by ubiquitous task forces.
We insist that the success of any government can only be judged by the level of wellbeing enjoyed by the citizenry. To this end, we task honourable members to always resist the urge by the executive to carry on with projects that have little or no benefit to the people.
CLO would appreciate and cooperate with an Assembly that is alive to its responsibilities: one that ensures that while it cooperates with the executive arm of government, it also has the courage and independence to question the executive arm when necessary.
CLO urges the 7th Assembly to carry out an immediate audit of all the Bills passed by the 6th Assembly. This will enable the 7th Assembly to take stock with a view to proceeding on the proper legislative footing. It will also enable the 7th Assembly to pass and re-present to the Governor for assent Bills, which, though passed by the 6th Assembly, had not been assented to by the Governor within the lifetime of the 6th Assembly.
Such audit will help unravel the mystery surrounding the very important Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, which was passed by the 6th Assembly, assented to by the Governor on 21st March, 2017 but is nowhere in sight. The mystery around this very important Bill is such that the law, which it became on assent, is said to have been “withdrawn.” Recently, at a public forum, the immediate past Attorney General declared that the Governor had never assented to the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill. With the uncertain fate of this all-important Bill, Courts in Akwa Ibom State are constrained to keep applying the draconian Criminal Procedure Law whose sole amendment, section 315, gives free reign to remand orders upon a mere chargesheet carrying offences over which the remanding Magistrate has no jurisdiction.
Akwa Ibom people are looking forward to a robust House of Assembly where legislations that seek to uplift the welfare and living standard of the people will dominate their legislative agenda.
Comrade (Barr.) Christopher Ekpo
Comrade (Barr.) David Augustine
(Publicity and Campaign secretary)