From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State House of Assembly has begun debate on three executive bills and a private bill adopted the first reading of them
Speaker of the House, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, had read out the three executive bills forward by the state Governor Nyesom Wike.
The bills are Enactment of Rivers State Accountability and Integrity Commission Bill of 2021; Enactment of Rivers State Housing Scheme for Judicial Officers Bill 2021; Enactment of Rivers State Judicial Institute Bill 2021.
Ibani disclosed that the Rivers State Accountability and Integrity Commission Bill of 2021 seeks to establish an accountability and integrity commission that would provide investigative, procedural powers and responsibilities to fight corruption in the state civil service and other related sectors.
Also, the enactment of Rivers State Housing Scheme for Judicial Officers Bill 2021, will also seek to provide live-long accommodation to all judicial officers of Rivers State origin.
Similarly, the enactment of Rivers State Judicial Institute Bill 2021, seeks to establish the State judicial institute for the training and retraining of state judicial officers including magistrates and chairmen and members of the State Customary Court.
Meanwhile, a privately sponsored bill, by the lawmaker representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 2, Michael Chinda, the enactment of the Prohibition of the Curtailment of the Right of Women to share in Family Property Bill, also scaled through first reading.
Briefing Assembly Press Corps shortly after the plenary, Chinda said he was optimistic that the bill would see the light of day, noting that the bill has four parts.
He said: “The bill is in our parts; first part makes it compulsory for married women to partake in the sharing of property in her family. You do not discriminate. It also made provision for any existing law that discriminates against women to remain void.
“Part two of the Bill: this part made a general provision for a female child and this includes adopted female children, children born out of wedlock whose paternity has been established by the father should not also be deprived.
“Part three of the bill is the penal provision. This states that whoever offends the would-be law, will be sentenced to five years imprisonment or pay a fine of N500,000 or suffer both and will relinquish the seized property.”
According to him, the bill was not just formulated by experts, it was a product of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
“This bill is a product of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly Section 42 that talks about non-discrimination of citizens.
” It is also the product of the pronouncement of the learned Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, they have ruled recently that a woman must not be deprived of her right to participate in the family and community.
“This Bill is a continuation of what the Rivers State of Assembly has been doing to ensure gender parity.
” The Rivers State house of Assembly has a law abolishing female circumcision, the House passed a law which abolished harmful widowhood practice and recently, we also passed a law abolishing violence against women. We are gender-friendly.”