(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -The Rivers State House of Assembly has directed the State Hospitals Management Board to pay the balance of what was left of Princewill Elekima’s entitlements after deducting the amount the board claimed that the civil servant stole leading to his sack in 1989.
The directive was given on Wednesday by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi Owaji – Ibani after listening to contributions from lawmakers to the report of House Committee on Public Complaints and Petitions chaired by Hon. Evans Bipi, lawmaker representing Ogu/Bolo State Constituency at the Assembly.
Rt. Hon. Owaji – Ibani had argued that it was unfair for the board to selectively obey the advice of the Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice on the matter by withholding the balance, after deducting the eleven thousand naira that the complainant allegedly stole.
Earlier, members had aligned with the recommendation of the committee that Elekima Princewill had a valid case, demanding that justice be seen to be done in the matter.
Among those who spoke at the plenary were Hons. Sam Ogeh, Martins Amaewhule, B. Anabraba, Friday Nke-eh and Edison Ehie.
In a related development, the Rivers State House of Assembly has also directed the Ministry of Environment, and Chieftaincy and Community Affairs to ensure that Total E &P takes immediate steps to address the pollution arising from operational oil spill which affected eight communities in Ahoada – East Local Government Area of the state in 2015.
The decision was taken after debates on the report submitted by Hon. Evans Bipi led House Committee on public complaints which looked into the petitions of the affected communities.
Contributing on the report, Edison Ehie, who noted that the affected communities were in his constituency, disclosed that the area is deserted because of the pollution that affected water and farm lands, destroying the peoples means of livelihood.
Both the speaker and other contributors however commended the committee led by Hon. Evans Bipi for doing a thorough job, including meeting with the parties involved and visiting the affected communities to see things for themselves.
Observing that Federal laws in Nigeria are against the interest of host communities and giving so much leverage to multinational companies to operate without consideration, Rt. Hon. Owaji- Ibani regretted the internal displacement of members of the affected eight communities, with the implication of human inertia among the very old ones among them.