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Drama in Imo as House suspends two members

Posted by From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri on 2004/08/26 | Views: 1055 |

Drama in Imo as House suspends two members

THE floor of the Imo State House of Assembly was turned into a theatre of the absurd yesterday as the members pitted against one another in disagreement, resorted to physical scuffles to settle scores.

THE floor of the Imo State House of Assembly was turned into a theatre of the absurd yesterday as the members pitted against one another in disagreement, resorted to physical scuffles to settle scores.

An attempt to discipline two alleged erring lawmakers was what triggered the breakdown of civility and led to the show of emotions, sentiments and level of partisanship among members.

Those who raced to snatch the mace but missed it vented their anger on the Sergeant-at-Arms and the structure on which the symbol of authority of the House was placed. They broke the table into pieces.

In fact, the Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Abraham Chukwuocha, had to muster extra strength to withstand the indicted legislators, Mr. Eugene Chuks Onyeji and Mr. Nnanna Igbokwe, who tried to snatch the mace from him to foil their suspension.

Indications that the day's proceedings would be rowdy emerged when the Speaker, Mr. Kelechi Nwagwu opted to receive the report of the Committee on Public Petitions, Ethics, Privileges and Anti-Corruption, which probed the role of Onyeji and Igbokwe in the publication by a weekly newsmagazine, which reportedly ridiculed the House and its leadership.

In the publication, the Speaker was allegedly linked to an incident of child kidnapping in the state.

The committee indicted the two lawmakers and recommended that they be suspended for a period, which was not pronounced by Nwagwu, before the session went into disarray.

As soon as the Speaker went about pronouncing the suspension of the members, the duo left their seats and headed towards the Mace placed on the table. They attempted to remove it but were prevented by the custodian, Chukwuocha.

Two other members of the House, Chief Charles Ubah and the Minority Leader, Mr. Ugochukwu Nzekwe also abandoned their seats and rushed towards Onyeji, who quickly went flat on the floor of the House.

In the ensuing melee, the Mace stand was broken into pieces. The Mace was thereafter taken to an unknown place between 11.30 am and 1.30 p.m.

Nwagwu went ahead to read the suspension script.

When the crisis subsided, the Speaker and some members asked the Sergeant-at-Arms to return the Mace, and again read the report.

He said: "At the executive session held this morning (yesterday) on the findings and recommendations of the Ethics and Privileges Committee that looked into the recent malicious and false publications against the leadership of the House in the magazine, it was agreed that the findings and recommendations of the committee be accepted by the House.

"I hereby warn that the suspension of the honourable members earlier announced is purely an internal matter of the House based on its rules.

"The purpose is to instil discipline and orderliness in the business of lawmaking," Nwagwu stated.

The Speaker also said that strict sanctions would be impose on any member who ridicules the House through absenteeism, official misconduct and unnecessary utterances that tarnish the image of the Assembly in the media or at public functions.

Members of the committee, headed by Mr. Amaechi Nwoha, where Nwangele Charles Ubah, Jasper Ndubuaku, Uguchukwu Nzekwe Peter Ukaigwe and Greg Owuamanam

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