George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma has signed into law, two bills: Licensing and Control of Oil Mills in Imo State which requires that anyone who wants to operate an oil mill in the state must be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture to obtain operational license.
This is just as he has repealed the Community Government Council law established by the administration of Rochas Okorocha which made traditional rulers as heads of the Community Government or the Fourth Tier of Government.
Uzodimma who signed the bills into law at the weekend pointed out that the bill on Licensing and Control of Oil Mills operations in the state, when fully applied, will contribute to the economic growth of Imo State.
He said that the law is meant to check vandalism of oil palm in the state, especially the Adapalm and its environs in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area and in Aboh Mbaise council which are owned by the state government.
The governor insisted that for one to establish an oi mill, one must register with the Ministry of Agriculture, which will demand to know the sources of the oil palm fruits that will be milled.
On the Autonomous Community, Traditional Rulers and Other Matters Law, the governor commended the House of Assembly for its commitment to passing laws that engender peace, growth and development of Imo State.
He explained that the law is meant to repeal the draconian Community Government Council (CGC) law, which had made traditional rulers politicians in disguise, by allowing their leadership to campaign for votes to be elected as chairman or secretary.
The governor said the new law which is a reference to the old tradition has vested on the governor the right to appoint the chairman and secretary of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers.
Also, he said the same law makes it mandatory for every traditional ruler to live within his domain and take full control of his kingdom and warned that those who are not prepared to do so must pass the traditional institution to their brothers or relations.
Uzodimma seized the opportunity to announce that soon an Executive Bill will be forwarded to the House of Assembly on the merger and re-organization of the various security agencies in Imo State to bring them in tandem with the standards of security operations such as the police, army, and navy.
Meanwhile, the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Chiji Collins has informed that the two laws became necessary, first as a source of internally-generated revenue to the state and to check excesses of those who go about cutting people’s palm fruits to enrich themselves.
Secondly, that the new law on Traditional Institutions and Community Council will engender peace in the communities, askm it has also restored the powers of the State Executive (Governor) to appoint Chairman and Secretary of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers after due consultation with the State Executive Council and other stakeholders.