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Suspended Imo Legislator cries out over seized salary, allowances

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The member of Imo State House of Assembly representing Isu State Constituency, Hon. Ngozi Obiefule, has appealed to the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to intervene in the indefinite suspension placed on her by the leadership of the Legislative house.

She cried out for help, saying her salary and allowances had been seized since she was sent on suspension last year.

Obiefule, elected under the platform of the APC, was placed on suspension for what the leadership described as dereliction of duty.

Speaking in an interview in Owerri, Obiefule, a ranking member of the House said she and two ranking members of the House were suspended since December 2021 by the leadership of the house for not attending the budget defence.

She debunked the accusation saying that she attended the defence, but later left the sitting to attend a burial ceremony of Uche Nwosu’s mother when she discovered that there was nothing much to debate during the budget defence because the budget presentation had moved to the Appropriation Committee.

“On that day I attended that budget defence, submitted my report and left for the burial ceremony of Uche Nwosu’s mother. We are not members of the Appropriation Committee who are in charge of that exercise.

“I have been in this house for the past six years and I am aware that with my years in the office no governor has agreed to any adjustment to any budget that is before the House. So, what we do normally is a veto show and go through the normal rudiment. That’s why sometimes, people don’t really take it seriously because you cannot adjust and readjust the budget that had been done by the executive.”

She blamed the former Speaker of the House, Paul Emeziem for her predicament.

She said when the former Speaker first came in; he started suspending members, saying it was unfortunate that in the whole of the Southeast, it is only in the Imo Assembly that such a thing is happening.

She explained ” in the last house, we adopted a 14-day punishment, which was a standing rule for the whole Southeast, the Imo State was the last House that adopted the unified House rule of the five states. It was Paul Emeziem that went to remove the 14-day and changed it to an indefinite suspension.”

She appealed to party leaders to wade into the matter to rescue her as the party has less than two months to begin its primaries.

Speaking on the issue, the Majority Leader and Adhoc Investigation Committee Chairman on suspended lawmakers, Kanayo Onyemaechi, revealed that none of the lawmakers who were suspended for dereliction of duty and dishonourable behaviour during the 2022 Budget Presentation, had approached his committee.

The State’s Assembly member representing Owerri West State Constituency made the revelation Wednesday during Plenary, when the Speaker, Chidozie Ibeh, sought to know if the suspended lawmakers had interfaced with the committee.

The Speaker expressed surprise that despite the opportunity for the members to state their cases, none of them had utilized the opportunity. He therefore called on the Chairman of the Committee to further extend a formal letter of invitation to them.

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