Ugochinyere, 49 other lawmakers risk sanction over camaraderie visit to Fubara

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*Ugochinyere (5th from left), Fubara (6th from left) and other house of representatives members during the solidarity visit in May.

A member representing Ideato federal constituency of Imo State in the house of representatives, Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere and 49 other lawmakers face sanction for paying a solidarity visit to the governor of Rivers State, Mr Siminalayi Fubara in Port Harcourt last month.

The house had yesterday during the plenary Ugochinyere and other to the committee on ethics and privileges after a Plateau State lawmaker, Mr Yusuf Gagdi raised a point of privilege motion.

Recall that Ugochinyere led over 50 members of the house of representatives to attend Fubara’s first year in office anniversary and thanksgiving service in Port Harcourt.
Fubara and his predecessor, Mr Nyesom Wike who is now the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been at loggerheads over the political control of Rivers State.

Ugochinyere, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is a supporter of Fubara and parades himself as the spokesperson for 60 opposition lawmakers.
In his point of order, Gagdi said his privilege as a member of house was breached because Ugochinyere misrepresented the visit by the legislators to Fubara.

Gagdi said after the visit to Fubara, Ugochinyere issued a statement, creating the impression that the lawmakers represented the house of representatives.

Gagdi said the lawmakers are members of the house of representatives on local content and were in Rivers for an oversight function but used the opportunity to visit Fubara.

“One of our colleagues issued a press statement that the delegation was in River state for a solidarity visit to the governor.
“It is okay to do a solidarity visit, but not for members to be misrepresented. I urge the house to look for this publication and interact with Ikenga.”

While speaking, some of the lawmakers who were among the team that visited the governor attempted to raise a point of order, but the deputy speaker, Mr Benjamin Kalu, who presided over the session, overruled them.

Kalu said the “point of privilege” is not to be debated.

He overruled a lawmaker from Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mark Esset from Akwa Ibom who said the matter was too trivial to warrant discussion on the floor of the house.
“In my opinion, I don’t see anything here. The same paper publication said some members of the house. There is nothing here. There is freedom of association,” Esset said.

Kalu scolded the lawmakers for turning the chamber into a marketplace and subsequently, referred the matter to the committee on ethics and privileges.