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Reps split over Okorocha’s amnesty to militants declared wanted by Rivers government


Governor Rochas Okorocha

There was a rowdy session yesterday on the floor of the House of Representatives on the veracity of the recent decision by Governor Rochas Okorocha to grant amnesty to militants in Imo State.

A motion, jointly sponsored by Mr. Kingsley Chinda and eleven others, had pitted lawmakers from Rivers State and their colleagues from Imo State, in particular, against one another.

The motion dwelt on the alleged decision by Okorocha to grant amnesty to suspects who had been declared wanted by the Rivers State Security Council.The motion had urged the House to “condemn the alleged grant of amnesty by the Imo State governor to the wanted criminals as well as urge the Federal Government and law enforcement agencies not to recognise the amnesty allegedly granted to wanted persons by Okorocha and ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of the wanted persons.

Problem started after Mr. Nnana Igbokwe (APC: Imo) rose in stout defence of Okorocha, arguing that there was no need for the House to wade into the matter. Igbokwe said the only option open to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was to approach the Supreme Court to challenge Okorocha’s action.

The House Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, who spoke in his support, said: “This motion cannot stand on this floor. It is inciteful and will only create more problems. Where there is a dispute between two states, it is the Supreme Court that will settle it.”

Both Igbokwe and Gbajabiamila were shouted down by their counterparts from Rivers State, forcing Speaker Yakubu Dogara to wade into the matter.Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema, who pointed his fingers at Gbajabiamila and Igbokwe, said he couldn’t believe that lawmakers would sit in chambers and politicise the killing of fellow citizens instead of supporting the motion.

While the Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, Mr. Uche Nnam-Obi also kicked against Igbokwe’s opposition to the motion, Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, and a member from Kano State, Mr. Baballe Bashir, both APC members, cautioned the House against passing a hasty resolution.

Dogara, who stepped down the controversial motion, directed three of the House committees – Judiciary, Ethics and Privileges and Public Safety and National Security to probe into the legality of the issues at stake and report back to the House within one week.

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Rochas Okorocha
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