Edo Speaker declares seats of 12 members-elect vacant, lawmakers okay N179.2bn budget for 2020

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Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Francis Okiye, on Wednesday, declared vacant the seats of 12 members-elect for deliberately refusing to present their certificates of return to the Clerk of the Assembly for inauguration.
Also during plenary, the seats of Messrs Uyi Ekhosuehi and Henry Okaka, representing Oredo East and Owan East respectively, were declared vacant for allegedly absconding from plenary after the inauguration of the Seventh Assembly on June 17.
According to the speaker, even if the lawmakers-elect come for sitting now, they cannot meet the mandatory 180 sitting days as enshrined in the constitution.
The affected members-elect are Vincent Uwadiae, Ovia North-East II; Ugiagbe Dumez, Ovia North-East I; Washington Osifo, Uhunmwode; Victor Edoror, Esan Central; Kingsley Ugabi, Etsako East and Michael Ohio-Ezomo, Owan West.
Others are Sunday Aghedo, Ovia South-West; Chris Okaeben, Oredo West; Crosby Eribo, Egor; Aliyu Oshiomhole, Etsako West II; Oshomah Ahmed, Etsako Central and Ganiyu Audu, Etsako West I.
Okiye, while declaring the seats vacant, said that the 12 members-elect ‘defiantly refused’ to come forward to do necessary documentation as part of the conditions for their inauguration as members of the Assembly.
He said: “12 out of the 24 members-elect, who completed their screening and documentation process, were inaugurated on June 17, out of whom two have refused to discharge their legislative duties.
“They have refused to represent their constituents in the Assembly, invariably denying them effective representation.
“At this point, I am declaring the seats of the 12 members-elect vacant, in accordance with Section 109, subsection 1(F) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended),” he said.
Okiye consequently called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct by-elections within 90 days in the affected constituencies.
Meanwhile, the House has passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill of N179.2 billion.
This followed a motion by House Leader, Mr Roland Asoro, and seconded by Mr Ephraim Aluebhosele, member representing Igueben at plenary in Benin.
Governor Godwin Obaseki had on November 13, presented a budget of N177.6 billion to the house for consideration.
The house, however, increased the budget by N1.6 billion to enable government complete all ongoing projects in the state.
A breakdown of the budget indicated that capital expenditure was put at N92.6 billion, while recurrent expenditure stood at N86.5 billion.
The Speaker, Mr Francis Okiye said the N1.6 billion would be sourced from anticipated Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the state.
Meanwhile, the House has approved the N3.5 billion loan from the Bank of Industry (BOI) for the state government to purchase fleets of buses for the Edo City Transport Service (ECTS).
The request was contained in a letter signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Osarodion Ogie to the house for consideration.
Leading the debate for the approval, Asoro said the purchase of the buses would further create jobs and ease transportation in the state.
Other lawmakers unanimously supported the approval of the request and the House, thereafter, in a voice vote approved the request to access the loan facility.

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